looking out to the horizon over a foggy cliff

Blind Spots: Why It’s Important To Embrace That You Don't Know What You Don't Know

"It is the sick person who really knows what health is." - Oswald Chambers

We all have blind spots. They’re usually the things we don't know we don't know and we'd be wise to proactively seek them out. But, for much of our young life, we live in constant denial, thinking we know everything. No blindspots here!... We say.

But expecting we know it all, or know enough that our lack of knowledge never causes us trouble, is simply a slow-ticking time bomb for the moment when we truly realize we know nothing at all. 

The Liability of Not Knowing

It wasn't until after I was eighteen years old (2004) that I first flew on an airplane. I assumed (wrongly) that plane boarding was on the other side of the security checkpoint. And I don’t mean the corridor that leads to the plane boarding, I mean literally, the plane would be boarded immediately after gaining security clearance. Completely innocent, I didn't know, and I didn't even know to ask. 

As I now know, security is only the beginning of the plane boarding experience, not the end. Based on my unhelpful knowledge, I didn’t get into the security line in 2014 until shortly before my plane was about to take off.

Unfortunately, there was a rude awakening at the end of the security process when I came to realize not only was my plane not there, but it was at the last gate in the corridor. It took me ten minutes to get there, and they closed the door when I was 100 feet out. Noooo! I begged them to reopen the door and let me in, and thankfully they did.

My entire first plane ride (to Atlanta, for my first time) was me imagining what would have happened if I missed the flight. Not knowing anything other than my fearful speculation, this anxiety-inducing exercise was not helpful.

Life, As A Big Unknown

And in many ways, this little story was symbolic of what was to come. Confident and ambitious, I thought I could take on the world moving across the country the following year in 2005. It was a year of many firsts.

I thought I knew, but facing the brutality of real life with numerous high stakes, quickly humbled (crushed) me, illuminating just how flawed, depraved, and inexperienced I was. In the wise words of Rocky Balboa, "[the world] is a very mean and nasty place and I don't care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it."

Embracing Our Limits

The problem involved ignorance and inexperience, but pride played a large role. I can handle anything, I thought. But, the moment we realize we can't, it's scary. Especially when we're isolated and trapped in a mode of survival.

While today, I've garnered volumes of experience, insight, and wisdom through my journey, I recognize there is still a deep chasm of the unexpected unknowns out there I'm not aware of or prepared to face. It's not a paralyzing revelation, but a humble one that drives me to seek the wisdom of God, the counsel of others, and the limited understanding of myself.


Hero Photo by nour c on Unsplash

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