After grabbing a cup of coffee, you plop down in your chair and turn out your computer, ready for the workday ahead. You quickly scan your email and take a long look at your calendar. So many things to do today! There are emails to write and respond to, a blog post to write, and a special project you want work on today. Plus, there are the household chores and the kids to take care of.
There is also that pesky problem that you just can’t seem to solve in your business as well. Perhaps you have been struggling lately trying to get a higher-paying client or trying to figure out a new software application for your website. Whatever the obstacle may be, every time it rears its ugly head, you find yourself scratching your head in frustration. Moments later, you are on Facebook or Twitter, trying desperately not to think about it.
Because no matter what you do, you just can’t figure out the solution. It feels like you are beating your head against the wall. You start thinking that maybe you should just quit because you are never going to be successful with your business. You just aren’t smart enough to figure it out.
The problem may not be necessarily with your level of intelligence. You may just be dealing with a more insidious monster.
You may in fact be blind.
No, I am not talking about your eyesight. There is a hidden monster that attacks us all from time to time, preventing us from tackling those everyday obstacles in not only our business but in our personal life as well. His name is perceptual blindness. And if you can figure out how to defeat him, you will find that these every day obstacles in your business become a whole lot easier to deal with and overcome.
Perceptual blindness is a phenomenon that makes people unaware of things that are in plain sight. It is more commonly known as “blind spots.” It occurs because the brain can only absorb certain amount of information at one time in order to prevent overload. The rest of the information it absorbed gets filtered away by the brain as unimportant and thrown away.
When the brain starts processing the information it has received, it starts filling in the gaps with inaccurate information. The result is a misrepresentation of reality that can lead to costly mistakes and errors in judgment.
We fall victim to perceptual blindness in a number of ways. Multitasking is one of the biggest traps of perceptual blindness. We cannot properly pay attention to details when we are distracted by too many things at once. Even thinking about a particular task (what to make for dinner) while performing another (crafting a query letter), can greatly impact our ability to perform well and achieve success.
Our expectations also have an extremely powerful impact on our ability to notice critical information. When we come into a situation with preconceived notions (good or bad) of what it should look like, we will definitely miss out on important details we need to solve the problems we face and grow personally and professionally.
Each person’s capability to pay attention varies and can be influenced by a number of factors as well. Lack of sleep and/or the influence of substances such as caffeine, alcohol, and drugs can greatly interfere with attention capacity. A person’s age and genetics can also influence the ability to focus on a given task for a period of time.
The best way we can cope with and overcome perceptual blindness lies in how well we can be aware of preconceived expectations, reduce mental and physical distractions, and concentrate to the tasks at hand and their surrounding details.
This week, do some monster hunting. Where is the perceptual blindness monster lurking in your life?