Do you ever drift into that place where you dream and drive?
You go into auto pilot and you wake up where you planned on driving.
We go into auto pilot all the time. We find ourselves in our work or home just automatically engaged.
Imagine a road, pitch black that you have driven 10,000 times. You know it like the back of your hand and you could “drive it in your sleep.” It would be safe to say that you could drive it if there were no other factors or conditions that you should be concerned with. There is clarity of thought and knowledge of the environment from your past experience but there isn’t resilience or awareness of your current conditions. In other words, if you drove the road but there was a new pothole that you didn’t know of it could be a problem. If you drove and didn’t know about the deer running in the center this could also be cause for concern. This lack of awareness is darkness in the system. Many people often believe they know things but more often than not they “knew” not “know” and what they had come to learn was true yesterday but different today.
Raising awareness is like shining a light. The Heath brothers wrote in their book “Decisive” about the differences between looking at something in the dark with a spotlight as opposed to turning on all the lights in the room and seeing the whole thing.
The view of the person with the spotlight may be clear and focused but can remain substantially uninformed. I see this is happening in business all the time. I see this happening in our lives as well. We walk around in our auto pilot mode with our spot lights. Who knows if it is by luck that we don’t crash and burn or by a higher power that we survive and sustain but it seems wise to turn up the light.
It reminds me.. Even as we are aware or we think we are aware, we are still fooled by our own individual confidence in what we see or believe.
Harry Hershfield, Laugh Louder Live Longer (New York: Gramercy Publishing Company, 1959), p. 166.
One of the better Communist stories. Every night, after factory hours, one of the workers would come out with a wheelbarrow filled with rubbish. The guard would examine it, find nothing and then let him pass. However, the guard was suspicious; that the fellow was stealing something, but he saw no proof. After months of the same procedure, he again examined the rubbish in the wheelbarrow and found nothing of value. The guard then said to him: “I know you’re stealing something every night, but I can’t discover what it is. Now, I’m being transferred from here to another city tonight, so I don’t care anymore; but for my own sake, tell me, what are you stealing?” “Wheelbarrows,” came the confession.
The lesson here is that we need to take a more open minded approach to being aware. Working with others and building trust can help us with cognitive diversity. Cognitive diversity can help us see things from other perspectives. We can look at problems together and find answers or become aware. Additionally, when we are blind in the light, others can help us see the not so obvious.
When we are alone and in our norm, we can easily find ourselves on auto..