This is Part 17 of an epic series on vision. You can read previous installments here:
Part 1. Part 2. Part3. Part 4. Part 5. Part 6. Part 7. Part 8. Part 9. Part 10. Part 11. Part 12. Part 13. Part 14. Part 15. Part 16.
We typically talk about vision as a vehicle for growth:
Dream big and then grow into who you need to be to bring that dream into form.
But there’s a problem with this approach, and it’s best articulated by this famous quote:
We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are. — Anaïs Nin (and others)
The literal act of seeing is as much a function of the brain as it is of the eye. Our brain fills in missing pieces of the picture that we don’t see because of our blind spots.
This means that our preconceptions and conditioning define what we see. By definition, therefore, what we see is a reflection of who we are: the sum of our experiences, knowledge, and beliefs.
If we can see only that which reflects who we already are, then our vision — both literal and metaphorical — is limited to what we know and our experiences.
And if what we see reflects who we are, then by definition we cannot see bigger than who we are.
Vision, therefore, can only expand with us; it cannot serve as a vehicle for our expansion.
To see bigger we must become bigger. To expand our vision we must first expand of view of ourselves.
How do we do this?
See Yourself in a New Light
One place to start is to see ourselves from a new perspective.
If we can see something different within ourselves, we will be able to see something different in what’s outside of us.
We tend to view ourselves as others view us. Whether we “should” view ourselves through the eyes of others is a different topic. The reality is that we often do. Especially through the eyes of those closest to us.
The problem is that the more you look at something the more you reinforce your blind spots. We become invested in what we know, what we see, our perspective. We entrench.
And when we see something all the time we tend to always look at it the same way.
People who know us the best or longest often see us as we used to be, or as they want us to be, not as we are now or as we could be.
Ironically, the people who don’t know us that well often provide us with the most clear picture of who we are. They see what those closest to us cannot see, because they look with fresh eyes.
By not looking for specific qualities that are absent or present, our new friends and acquaintances see us more clearly.
Reflections from people outside our typical sphere gives us the best vantage point to see ourselves in new ways.
And as we see ourselves differently, our vision of what is outside of us and what is possible for us, will change.