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Conflict Resolution Training: Blind Spots

February 26, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 230

Years ago, my mother in law had cataracts surgery. After the surgery, she marveled at how green the grass looked. Of course, the grass had always been green, but the cataracts had prevented her from seeing its brilliance.

Similarly, a friend told me about two friends of hers who had visited India at about the same time. One friend who was afraid of snakes was appalled at the number of "snake charmers" she saw on the streets. Another, with no particular fear of snakes, was disappointed that she hadn't seen any.

Several years ago, I was in Olympia, Washington and passed two side by side newspaper kiosks. Here were the headlines on the front page of the two newspapers:

"Rates Of Owning Homes Is Plunging." USA Today August 6, 2009

"Housing Ready To Rally?" The Olympian, Olympia, Washington August 6, 2009

In the New York Times on December 7, 2010, David Brooks in his column, "Social Science Palozza" cites research in "Psychological Science" in which people were presented with evidence that undermined their core convictions. Rather than questioning their beliefs, however, these people attacked the evidence and argued forcefully for their original beliefs.

Go to and take a test that will confirm what I'm sure you already know: Because of a hole in our visual field (a "blind spot"), we are unable to see what's right in front of us. Our brains fill that hole with our best guess as to what is actually there based on our past experience with that object.

In our day to day experience, what we see and what we don't see is largely determined by what we believe (based on our past experience). If we're afraid of seeing snakes, we may see a lot of them in India. If we have our beliefs challenged, we might deny the evidence.

If we were to open our heads and look behind our eyeballs, we'd know that we are literally not seeing what is actually in front of us. For example, if you saw me as your eyes do, I'd be two feet tall and upside down. Some magic happens in our brains to correct for the image that is received by our eyes. The "magic" is based on what our past experience has taught us we should expect to see.

What else are we not seeing? What are we seeing that isn't there?

A friend asked me the other day for advice in dealing with his "opinionated" brother.

I suggested that he was seeing something that wasn't there. There is no "opinionated" brother. There is, however, a brother with opinions that aren't the same as my friend's.

My friend is not actually seeing his real brother. He's seeing some story he has about his brother (based on his beliefs from his past experience) and it's the story he thinks is real. In fact, the story is more real than his real brother.

What might happen if we gave up our stories about each other and just accepted one another as we are: human beings with different blind spots and alternate points of view? Might this be, then, an opportunity to learn from one another rather than a reason to make each other wrong?

I have been an author, speaker and consultant since 1984. I help organizations, teams and individuals produce breakthroughs in results and relationships. Visit my websites to learn about the resources I offer. Simple, easily learned techniques for resolving the conflicts in your work and personal life. Here you can buy my book where you will be guided through the steps to resolve any conflict in your life. Workshops and resources for leadership, management, team and personal training and development

Source: EzineArticles
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