I Was Blind, but Now I See

Me, circa 1980 with really big glasses

I’ll never forget the day I got my first pair of glasses. I was 8 years old.

Without glasses, I couldn’t even read the big E at the top of the eyechart.

When my mother and I walked out of the optometrist’s office that day, and I put on my glasses, I  felt a little like Dorothy in the Land of Oz.  It was a whole new world.

Mom . . . I can see the branches, the leaves on the trees!

Mom . . . I can read the signs!

I looked up at my mother.  A tear was trickling down her cheek.

“Mom . . . you have wrinkles!”

That day I could finally see clearly, wrinkles and all.

But how well did I really see?

How well do you see?  How well can you even pay attention?

Watch this short video, doing your best to follow the instructions:

When I watched the video—I didn’t know what it was testing—I diligently counted the number of passes.  After the video, the answer flashed across the screen.    Yep, I didn’t miss any.  But then came the question,  But did you see the gorilla? What? The video replayed.  Sure enough, a person in a gorilla suit walks into the middle of the action, beats its chest and walks off screen. I couldn’t believe I missed it.  I couldn’t believe anyone could miss it.  Yet, 50% of people do.

We can become so mentally focused, that we can develop a kind of tunnel vision and miss important things.

It’s one thing to miss a gorilla, but what about all the people I was missing?

Sure, when I got glasses, I could see better physically, but  as the years passed I became blind.   The eyes of my heart became blind.  Blinded by striving and ambition, blinded by self-centeredness, blinded to the suffering of others.  I was so focused on my path, on that yellow brick road to the Emerald City of my own goals, that I didn’t really see the people around me.

I could walk right past friends, even stare right at them and not see them. Some thought I was “stuck up” because I didn’t notice them.  Others would wave their hands to get my attention.  It took a while to get out of my own head.  It took my children to help me see “invisible people.”

The eyes of my heart started opening and I could see that other people are every bit as important as whatever goals I might have.

You are all with me on my yellow brick road.  You were there all along.  And now I can finally see you.  I was blind, but now I see.

It’s a whole new world.

I see the sadness in the eyes of little girl who’s daddy is away at war.  I see the brave face of a 50-something man, who’s looking for work for the first time in decades.  I see the flash of pride in my teenage son’s almost imperceptible smile when I say, “I am proud of you.”

Who do you see?  Or maybe, the better question is, who don’t you see?

Diane’s website


About Diane Windingland
I speak for organizations that want their people to have better, more profitable conversations.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: