I was always very proud of my eyesight. I am not sure why that was…but I passed any eye test I took for years. And then I didn’t. I could blame technology – reading text on computer screens, laptops, iPhones and Blackberries. But in truth I know what happened. I got older…and so did my eyes!
My first effort was ‘self-help’ – reader glasses bought from the pharmacy. These were necessary when I wasn’t in bright natural light or early in the morning when I was jet lagged. Soon enough I succumbed to proper eye-tests…and the rest as they say is history.
My current pair are varifocals designed so that I can wear them all the time…a simple solution to overcome the fact that I could never find my readers when I needed them. They also darken in sunlight – a great idea when I am outside in the sun (I don’t need sunglasses)…but no use at all when I am driving in the summer!
I found myself thinking about my eyes and what I see last week. A great colleague at work suggested a very interesting idea about a new way of us working together. An idea of how we could help each other and help our customers. I was – and am – very excited by his idea, what we could do and how we could help companies and their projects.
I also could not believe that we hadn’t thought of this idea before. It was right there – right in front of our eyes…and yet I hadn’t managed to see it. Everyone else I have mentioned this opportunity to, has been similarly excited…and similarly qualifies their excitement with some level of frustration and surprise that none of us had spotted it before.
Sometimes we just seem to find it hard to see what is obvious…until someone else observes it for us…observations about our work, our families or ourselves.
This is intriguing to me. We all see things all the time. We use so many view-related words – vision, foresight, farsight, insight. And yet we all are amazingly good at missing important ideas or objects or opportunities.
And maybe this is both the problem and the solution. Our views – what we see – are based on our experiences and our beliefs. We have all seen different things and we are all capable of seeing things differently. I believe this is a manifestation of diversity. It has to be one of the reasons why we seek out second opinions…why we invite alternative views.
It is also why we value colleagues and friends with different experiences. People who can see what we see…read what we read…and yet think and suggest different ideas. They – literally – help us to see things differently.
Whether suggested ideas and opportunities are right or wrong is a different matter; not least because a great deal of science and research is much more a matter of opinions than it is a case of right and wrong.
Human nature can sometimes drive us to avoid differences in opinion…whereas in reality there are likely to be more opportunity where we have different views from each other.
And yes I am disappointed that I missed this opportunity my colleague revealed to me last week. But more so I am pleased that he was able and willing to highlight to me something that we had all missed. And above all I am excited by what we could do together and what else this alternative way of thinking (and seeing) will help us achieve.
Either way, I know I am due another eye-test…and I am sure that will help me see more and see better.