I once knew a guy named Tim who obsessed over saving money. He’d drive twenty miles to save a dime on a gallon of gas, use sketchily-obtained coupon codes to shave pennies off of online items, or choose to do something himself rather than paying a professional.

Tim had a blind spot. But to be fair, we all do.

Blind spots obstruct our ability to perceive the full scope of a situation. Some, such as Tim’s cost-at-all-cost tunnel vision, result from our own choices. But, the opposite of tunnel vision is also true. Have you ever ignored an ailment too long before seeing a doctor? Blind spot.

Other blind spots, caused by lack of knowledge, experience, or skill are out of our control and can put us unknowingly into jeopardy. Consider that scary movie scene where your favorite character is totally oblivious to the fact that the monster is right behind her.

The most dangerous blind spots are the ones that we hold as virtues. Do you pride yourself in being an optimist? Blind spot. While optimists criticize pessimists for their inability to see the upside of situations, overly optimistic people have diminished capacities to assess downside risk.

Blind spots create opportunities for storytellers to make a point, hold audience interest, or become the reason why characters find themselves in sticky situations. By withholding specific information from an audience (like where exactly the monster is located), storytellers can increase tension or let people come to their own false conclusions before dropping the hammer on them later.

Is there a situation where your customers make the same mistake over and over again? If so, there’s likely a blind spot that a business storyteller can shed light on. Customer’s like Tim, for example, are frequently blind to the concept: total-cost-of-ownership. Let’s say that your company offers training for its products at an additional cost, but Tim decides to save a few bucks by learning on his own. While he will save money in the short term, it may take him three weeks to complete a one-week task. In other words, he saved dollars yet lost time.

But this post isn’t about Tim; it’s about you and me.

We all have blind spots. What are yours?


Photo Credit: Keller, Arthur Ignatius, Artist. He Surprised Couples Stealing Embraces. , 1923. [?] Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/2010717024/