Blind Spots in Life

A Blind Spot is a behavior or a comment you make that creates push back from another person that you are not aware of.

In January 2011, I was interviewed by Eric Michaels on the concept of Blind Spots for

Here is a link to the interview.


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32 Responses to Blind Spots in Life

  1. The concept of judging is harmful when done in the course of a conversation. For example, ‘wow’ or ‘that must have been difficult’ can dampen or even dam the process.

    When ending a conversation, it’s appropriate to offer an judgment because the conversation is over…for example, your accomplishments are amazing, thank you for sharing. Good-bye.

    The difference lies in the timing. I will often say good-bye to my coach with a judgment statement such as: thank you for your insights (insights being the judgment).

    Most people discover that the fewer judging statements, the smoother and deeper the conversation will travel. Agreeing with someone is not wrong or bad, unless of course you claim to agree when you really don’t. However, agreeing out of habit can thwart an opportunity to learn more and discover hidden truths.

    • kay johnson says:

      …I understand this and it makes sense now and can actually see what you mean -
      ..this really helps tremendously!!! :)

  2. kay johnson says:

    PS I know I ‘failed’ and made an appreciative judgement statement. I am willing to be wrong in doing this because anybody who invests 10,000 or more hours of their time dedicated to any subject has my admiration! I enjoyed being wrong in this context.


  3. kay johnson says:

    Agreed :)

    that is some feat! aka 10,000+ hours.

    I wanted to thank you for your time that you gave in answering the questions it was most appreciated!

  4. k johnson says:

    On a completely different side note: Have you read this book yet?

    “The Impulse Factor: Why Some of Us Play It Safe and Others Risk It All ”

    what do you think about this subject?

    • I haven’t read the book. I don’t have an opinion on the subject because I haven’t given it a lot of thought. What are your views?

      • k johnson says:

        There are 3 books that have my interest piqued:
        a) the one you recommended “Outliers”
        b) Emotional Intelligence 2.0
        c) The Impulse Factor: Why some of us play it safe/others risk

        The basic answer is they all explore different viewpoints in psychology and the last one delves into genetics, neurology (a sideline interest) and management theory which I find in your materials. Since you read a lot I thought it may have been possible that you had come across it?

        Here is my last question “Do you OR have you done your 10,000 hours of research/work in the specialised field of Human Behaviour, business & family coaching”? :)

        • Those books look very interesting. My approach to the study of psychology focuses on the preventive more than the treatment. In fact, I don’t focus any effort on treatment as I believe the right tools and skills are healing in their application.

          10,000 hours? That’s a great question. I started calculating the hours with my wife and we believe I’m over at this point.

  5. k johnson says:

    last question: I searched your entire site for “Rules of Engagement” – the only thing I found was 1) a very charming story about your youngest son and the scary disneyland ride…which is very enjoyable reading – and 2) Ground Questions 1-2-3-4-5-6-7

    Did I find the Rules of Engagement or does that come in the advanced course?

  6. The process started very young, when I was just out of high school. My awareness grew over the years. In 2004 or 2005, I started a quest that cost me around $500k and took me around the US. I studied under some incredible people and I read volumes of books. I wanted to learn the most effective communication methods as a means to happiness. Most people want to be happy. They want friends and they want to be loved.

    My awareness grew rapidly when I started discovering the Blind Spots we step into. My sense of logic was violated when I realized that many folks didn’t want to change, but rather, the want everyone else to change. Pride, among other things, is a major stumbling block. And it was/is with me, as well.

    The ALL OF A SUDDEN’s are a compilation of major ‘ah hahs’ that occur when I questioned the accepted and got a new insight.

    • k johnson says:

      This is a personal question so if it is too personal please forgive me for asking and don’t answer :)

      In reading your statement above, to start at such a young age with material as enlightening as this, did this originally start as an introspective project on yourself?

      • I lost my father when I was ten. I’ve been trying to figure things out for a long time. I was the oldest, so I had to raise my brother and four sisters. With my brother (2 years apart), we more or less raised each other, I would say. With my sisters, I would attend parent-teacher conferences for them, write their excuses for being sick, help with homework, and when they were very young, all the things that a dad would do.

        • k johnson says:

          Did you at some point in your life did you ever feel disappointment because of the fact that at the age of 10 it appears as if your childhood ended and your role in the family changed abruptly?
          PS this may not be the best place to ask these questions, however, I am fascinated at the responsibility it appears you carried at a young age ~

          • k johnson says:

            …and so, what can I learn from a non-response? Did I screw up somehow? I felt like I was possibly asking too deep of questions on over the internet, but yet I wanted to ask them – where do I go from here is “no-response” = really a reponse of a negative fashion?

          • Kay,
            Look at the response I gave to the previous question. It addresses your question. I struggled with his death and continue to ask questions today. It never goes away, however, there is a calmness and a comforting spirit that surrounds that aspect of my life now.

  7. Interesting thoughts. Communication in its purest form is an exchange of understanding. The process of learning to effectively communicate is accomplished in stages or levels. Line upon line. Precept upon precept. If you were to attempt a Ted Level 3 communication before you understand Ted Level 1, your success rate would likely be very minimal.

    On the other hand, if you start with abstaining from offering unsolicited opinions (Ted Level 1), your awareness grows of what’s happening within your space. People rarely ask you about your thoughts. They are more focused on themselves. Moving to Ted Level 2, you become aware of how relating damns relationships and aborts discussions. You see others constantly inserting their agreement-seeking words and opinions into conversations without invitation and you are aghast that nobody sees what just happened.

    Then you develop the ability to withhold judgments that harm discussions and move yourself into neutral territory. You recognize that more and more people enjoy talking with you because they feel comfortable in your space.

    All of sudden you get overwhelmed because everybody sees you as someone that listens. You may perceive that you have no boundaries because all you do is ask questions that gives others permission to talk.

    Ted Level 3 comes along and your questions now hold others accountable for their words and beliefs. Your questions delegate thought and your boundaries (Rules of Engagement) are grow, become strong, and your words generate growth. Some people won’t want to share your space because they don’t like being held accountable for growth. They prefer to complain and seek agreement of others for their misery (pity party pros).

    Ted Level 4 teaches you how to get many small commitments in business and at home that lead to a big commitment. You learn to only work with people you trust and respect and they in turn reciprocate.

    The summary is that communication is more than just asking questions, it is a two-way exchange of ideas, thoughts, and feelings that you share with another person. This is called ‘emotional intimacy’ and it is the most productive space you can share with another human being.

    • k johnson says:

      I printed your explanation out as it is extremely helpful to be able to see these concepts objectively and the progression or ‘overview’ of this entire process in a nutshell.

      I would like to make a few comments paragraph by paragraph – this helps me to learn by relating these items to myself and applying them as I understand them AT THIS MOMENT. It is entirely possible I have not grasped the concept properly OR I don’t understand it in the way it was really meant. Therefore FEEL FREE TO JUMP IN AND COMMENT-opinion is welcome because unless I can receive feedback…I am left adrift…as follows:
      TED level 1 – frankly I am much happier about people talking about themselves and not me – I am find it MUCH MORE rewarding and interesting to boot. Feeling like an oddity anyway from a really young age and realizing I had to be careful not to inundate – this dovetails nicely and I prefer people to talk about themselves to me and leave me out of it – anyone may think that this is false comment but it is truly true – UNLESS it is someone I care deeply about and I am very close to – then it is fun to ‘tell a real story’once in a while. One more caveat…I have found that those who ask my thoughts are truly trying to judge if I am mad at them for something OR they want to hear that I am down and why ? – and this is how they ‘feel-out’ whether it has to do with them or not. It has nothing to do with me really – I know because I can feel the underpinnings – therefore which again I refer back to my original thoughts above.
      TED 2 – I have become acutely aware (in a growing sense) of how relating DAMNS discussions, I still almost say it…catch myself many times, sometimes it slips out and then I quickly cover it up with the immediacy of a question about them…darn it…it’s so hard to stop bad habits! I much prefer listening to others make this mistake other than myself (this is selfish I know) but at least I can forgive myself then. ;)
      I have not even touched on TED 3 and I look up at it and want to grasp onto the bars of it and hoist myself up there! :) It looks VERY inviting to be at TED 3!!!
      TED 4 would be the pinnacle that I would like to achieve…I can’t even look up at TED 4…it’s so far away, down the road, down the line…next year perhaps?

      Thank goodness for your last paragraph! I could not agree with you more – and it helped me see there is really a light at the end of the tunnel.


      • k johnson says:

        one more question…o.k. so I have “agreed” with you on that last paragraph of mine…but your sentence clicked with me like a puzzle piece locking in – so am I wrong (in a sense) for agreeing when I really do, but I was not seeking agreement from you??? jeepers hope that makes sense…?

        • Nope, that one didn’t make sense.

          • k johnson says:

            OK I will try a different way – thanks for asking
            Is this statement ok/correct?

            My statement “I couldn’t agree with you more…”

            as a response to your statement “emotional intimacy is the most productive space you can share with another human being.”

            feels right to me and does not feel like a TING response aka “…inserting their agreement-seeking words” to agree with a statement, fact or point-made seems to me to be O.K. and does not seem to me to be ‘agreement seeking’

            Is that correct or incorrect (in terms of TED1-2-3-4)?

            …does that question make sense? if not I will try again ;)

      • Yep, that makes sense. TED 3 is an amazing space to experience. Emotional intimacy abounds and growth takes on a very passionate emotion because you realize your potential in an experiential way. It is the essence of life long learning.

        TED 4 is the culmination of delegating thought by holding the other person accountable for a direction. You give all the power to the other person, while keeping control (more like orchestrating) the direction of the conversation. This is powerful space and part of the Powerful Listening skill set.

        • k johnson says:

          …printed this out and added to my collection of cheat-notes ;)

          I would like to clarify one thing and ask another question: In this statement I made ”
          One more caveat…I have found that those who ask my thoughts are truly trying to judge if I am mad at them for something OR they want to hear that I am down and why ? – and this is how they ‘feel-out’ whether it has to do with them or not. It has nothing to do with me really”
          clarification – I thought through later…it isn’t I’m asked ‘What are my thoughts” I am asked literally “And How is Kay today?” I have tested whether this is about me or not by replying in a couple of different ways.
          a) test one: “I’m great…we just had a huge booking for a 3 week stay…I couldn’t believe it -this passed our goal for the month” upon which it appears to me this was not what was wanted as a response.
          b) test two: “Things are awful R. and I had a fight and now we are not speaking” upon which I can tell NOW they are interested in hearing how bad things are for me.
          c) test three: If I just say o.k. in a way that conveys I am not speaking to them…they look forlorn. Again this was the real question…am I mad or not?
          —————-your thoughts about How is Kay today????? is that a real question about me or not?

    • k johnson says:

      How long did this process take you to develop and/or apply to yourself in communicating with people? (how long to get beyond TED 4)
      Can you expand story-wise on some of the developmental milestones you experienced such as: when you stated that ALL OF A SUDDEN you got overwhelmed because….
      OR you may have had the perception of having no boundaries because of asking questions….

      • The developmental aspect of the process has been ongoing since 2005. I started writing my discoveries that year. The Ted and Ting series took hold in ca 2008 and developed over the years. It originally started as a way to explain how people tend to communicate. Then I discovered I was explaining 6 major skills that comprised the most effective approach to effective communication and emotional intimacy. Blind Spots was added as a collaborative effort with Jacques Werth, one of my mentors. I’m now working on my book that will address the 7 Skills of Powerful Listening.

        It took me 18 months of daily practice before I started teaching the concepts in the Ted and Ting format. I had a coach who worked with me weekly during that time. Not to mention that monthly trips I took to attend seminars and workshops around the country.

        • k johnson says:

          Very interesting information. A couple questions:
          When you discovered you were explaining 6 major skills comprising effective communication and emotional intimacy – is adding “Blind Spots” the 7th skill?

          When your book is published will it be offered on Amazon or just privately through your courses?

          • Yes, Blind Spots play such a large role in developing these skills, I inserted into the skills of Powerful Listening.

            It will be available on Amazon and through the courses.

  8. k johnson says:

    Dear Richard,

    If all that is left is questions…specifically those are the only things that are “free” (if you will) to say and the rest is sort of taboo (so to speak) – then it seems that people are or might be afraid to say anything as a way not to make a mistake (seriously) at least that is what I feel sometimes here on this blog – even if I make a lot of ‘em ;)
    Sometimes when I look at the data (your Ting Ted info) and it all makes sense it seems really really great in some ways…I can truly see the advantages to it and as poor as I am at it…I practice and get better and do enjoy doing it – this is in verbal conversations. However, how can I say this? It seems in the confines and rules associated with this process, that the back and forth discussions of ideas (such as this subject matter for instance) is thwarted. It feels as if (in this blog) that comments are met with silence and the rare question is met with a answer but there is no expounding on ideas to take them further or drilling down into the subject matter. Perhaps that is somehow what is right? it just doesn’t feel right here – it feels like a filter to have to work through. Isn’t a blog more of a free form communication to discuss ideas or understanding on a subject or is what you are saying is ALL COMMUNICATION must be passed through this filtering system before being spoken, in voice, in typing, in any form at all?

  9. It seems you are getting value out of the process. I, on the other hand, am receiving good humor and encouragement. I appreciate your comments and awareness.

    • k johnson says:

      thank you – :) perhaps you won’t like the comment I wrote while you were commenting…sorry it is a REAL honest question…I know it’s in there someplace … :)

  10. k johnson says:

    darn it “WOW” is judging…back to the drawing board…

  11. k johnson says:

    WOW I listened to it. One thing I am very guilty of doing is “I know exactly how you feel” that is one I am working hard on. But I guess the best thing I got out of the pod cast was when you said her “growth pattern” and then you related that to “conflict” is what is necessary for one’s own growth <-not exactly that phrase but I believe that was the context. I always looked at conflict as a bad but necessary in life – thing but if you take your phrase literally there is definitely an "upside" to the downside of conflict – the supply and demand discussion was also a good way to "gauge" wanted opinons vs unwanted.

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