One of my all-time favorite movie scenes is in Back to the Future. Biff Tannen, the bully, has just returned George McFly’s car via tow truck! Biff tells George he should have been warned about the blind spot before the car was loaned to him. He said “I could have been killed!”
Then, wimpy George stutters, “Now, Now, Biff, now I never noticed that the car had any blind spot before when I would drive it.” To which Biff retorts: “What are you, blind, McFly? How else do you explain that wreck out there?” And George gets taken once again while his ashamed son, Marty, watches on.
Truth be told, we all have blind spots! Just like every car, truck, van, or SUV, every person has spots where we are unable to see what we need to see. The answer to the question, “What are you, blind?” is a “Yes!” for all of us! We are all blind! We all have things we cannot see. Sometimes, they even cause “life accidents.”
Today, my purpose is not to talk so much about blind spots. We all have them, and it would be well to know them and learn to strengthen ourselves in those areas. Today, I wish to speak more about how we often ride around in the blind spots of others! I want to help us all change that practice.
I recall my Driver Education Class and learning about blind spots. I learned (unlike Biff and George!) that my car had them. I also learned it was unwise to ever coast along in someone’s blind spot. They cannot see you; it is dangerous, and could result in an accident. We would do well on the road to be careful about riding in someone’s blind spot!
The same is true for life. How often do we notice the weaknesses of others and focus on them? How often do we find ourselves irked and irritated by what we think are the negative and displeasing aspects of other people? Let’s face it! We all have flaws and shortcomings. They can be so easy to spot. If we allow them, they can also become major irritants.
So, what should we do when we notice weaknesses and shortcomings in others? I am asking we do what we would be advised to do by a driving instructor. We should move in front, move to the side, or slow down and step back.
Will you allow me to be your driving instructor for life on this issue of personal blind spots? At least for me, will you please do the following when you encounter a blind spot in me? These three things will help me (and perhaps all of us) when heading down the roads of life.
Get Behind Me
If you notice a blind spot in me that causes you concern, please slow down, get behind me, and then cheer me on. Offer me kind words and encouragement. I love to hear people cheer, “You can do it!” Root for me! Praise me! Offer your support and make it known! Please try the phrase, “You can make it!”
I don’t hear it is as much as I did in the past, but I loved the phrase, “I got your back!” When you see a weakness or flaw in me, will you please get my back? Help me out! Hold me up! Put some positive energy behind me and help me to keep going! Your loving support and feedback mean so much! Get behind me and cheer me on!
My grandparents did this for me! As I was growing up and facing life’s challenges, they were always there. They never said much, but they were ready to help whenever I had a need or was working on something. Wherever I was and whatever I was doing, I could look out and see their faces in the crowd. I always knew they were there, that they believed in me, and that they would help in any way they could. I miss that now that they are gone. There is nothing like knowing you have support behind you!
Get in Front of Me
When you notice one of my shortcomings, will you consider getting in front of me? I would really love it if you would speed up and get clearly in front of me! There is nothing like a good role model and example to help me on my way. It will be so much easier to get better if I can clearly see and follow you!
The power of example is so amazing! Have you ever noticed we are often most impatient with people who struggle with something where we are talented? Often, we are impatient, because we have some mastery in this area. What if we sought to help rather than find fault? What if we sought to be a model rather than a critic?
If you are good at something I struggle with, please set the pace for me and be an example! Help me understand how you got to the place you are at and then cheer me on the way. I have a couple of good friends who have done this for me. I appreciate how they have lovingly helped me to get better at something. They have listened, offered support, and then led by example what they taught me.
How wonderful it is when someone who is great at something takes the time to help others along the way! A great leader sets the pace and the tone, shows you how to do it, and then helps remove the obstacles out of the way. Get in front and show me the way!!
Get Beside Me
I saved this one for last, because I like it the most! When others have noticed my personal flaws and blind spots, I have appreciated and admired dear friends who come up next to me and offer me love and support. Usually, this will be accompanied by a supportive arm around my shoulders.
There is nothing to motivate me more than caring and loving concern from someone who is willing to walk beside me. Think about it! Most of the time when I am struggling with my weaknesses, I am acutely aware of it! I am probably berating myself with that negative voice in my head. I don’t like my flaws and I am not as compassionate with myself as I ought to be.
How wonderful it is, in those moments of self-deprecation and even self-loathing to have someone come up beside me and share a gesture of love, support, and affection! What a blessing it is to have someone let me know that I am not heading down this road of life alone. As I face my own obstacles and blind spots, I can sure appreciate helpers along the way!
So, as we head down our personal roads of life, let’s be aware of our blind spots and do all we can to get better! And, when we happen to notice the blind spots of others, let’s not be like Biff Tannen and take advantage of them. Let’s all rally around and support each other. Let’s get behind each other and cheer each other on! Let’s make sure we are setting the best example and leading the way. Let’s get beside each other and offer that loving and encouraging help.
May we all resolve to never take advantage of another’s weakness, shortcoming, or blind spot. Let’s be people who love, encourage, boost, and support! That will really change the future for all of us!
Jim R. Jacobs, LCSW is an author, professional speaker, counselor, and professional coach. He lives with his wife and 4 daughters and 1 son in Denver, Colorado. His book is Driving Lessons For Life: Thoughts on Navigating the Roads of Life. A fun and refreshing ride to better living! Contact – Website – Facebook – LinkedIn – Blog – Youtube – Book
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