Get to know your blind spots

This is the fourth post I will be creating on Ray Dalio’s book “Principles.”

I’d like to focus on blind spots. We all have blind spots. How do we get rid of them if, by their very nature, we can’t see them ourselves.

One thing can be said for sure. Our blind spots are holding us back. Everyone knows they have them but the question becomes, “How do I get rid of them?”

I have a crazy app idea. What about an app that allows you to share your account with your best friends. When your best friends notice something about you that you’re blind to, they would be able to anonymously tell you through the app.

It’s a crazy idea because it would get rid of your blind spots, but it would also open you up to unwanted criticism. How well do you know yourself? How important is it to test reality?

“Reality is something that needs to be tested before going to work. You need to find out the feasibility of things before going forward with them. This is how it moves along. The reality versus the things you have in your head. The kinds of things that you have in your head before you start in in doing things.” – Ray Dalio

Dalio is giving us feedback on how to be wrong less often. We need to “test reality,” find “believable people,” and get out of our heads.

Dalio shares why we need to get rid of our blindspots,

“Get to know your blind spots. When you are close minded and form an opinion in an area where you have a blind spot, it can be deadly. So take some time to record the circumstances in which you’ve consistently made bad decisions because you failed to see what others saw. Ask others – especially those who’ve seen what you’ve missed – to help you with this. Write a list, tack it up on the wall, and stare at it. If you find yourself about to make a decision (especially a big decision) in one of these areas without consulting others, understand that you’re taking a big risk and that it would be illogical to expect that you’ll get the results you think you will.” – Ray Dalio

Think you’re so good that you don’t need to examine your blind spots? Dalio thinks otherwise:

“If you continue doing what you think is best when all the evidence and believable people are against you, you’re being dangerously arrogant.” – Ray Dalio

While the app idea is crazy, if an app like this existed, it might go a long way in making sure you see your blind spots. Since the app doesn’t exist you’ll need to check in with believable people in your life to make sure you aren’t being dangerously arrogant.

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Author: David Neely

Professional Software Developer. Technology and Web Coordinator at the University of Hawaii's Manoa Career Center.