Hey there everyone!!
There’s a certain paradox that happens when one becomes so good at something… We become unconsciously competent (the fourth stage of learning, after unconscious incompetence, consciousness incompetence, and conscious competence), where we do not even realize how transformed we are.
Being functional in society without the use of sight has been a tremendous amount of work. The personal development industry taught me not to focus on the pain, and so I haven’t, and have forgotten about it. However, when I want to inspire people with examples of my personal transformations, I need to take time and dig deep into all the traumas I have buried over the years.
It’s further ironic how when I do take the time to spell out the difficulties, some people automatically respond with, “why are you so negative?” failing to realize that I am deliberately being negative for their benefit. It’s not a fun place to be, and so it is a sacrifice for me to be willing to visit these dark places.
Here are three examples of my life experiences that most people would never need to deal with. They are my worst life experiences, but probably not yours.
1. Dropping a Drink
People always somehow try to diminish the validity of my examples by asserting that they too have similar challenges. Sure, other people may drop a drink now and then, but the mere frequency of dropping the drinks is what makes all the difference in the world. It disrupts conversation, and for those who don’t know I’m visually impaired, it makes me just look like a clumsy person.
Then there is the extra cost associated to dropping drinks (a $7 drink actually cost $10 with tax/tip, and considering I don’t always know that I got the correct change, I’m know I lose money like this on a consistent basis. Then there’s the wine stain that may be on my shirt that I don’t even notice. And as I go to other venues, people think less of me because I have a stain on my shirt. This again adds to cost, in terms of laundry, dry cleaning, or even needing to replace certain garments.
This may sounds like a lot of extra stuff, but I haven’t even begun to share all the endless ramifications from one simple tipping of the glass can cause. In fact, the variables are all different when I drop a glass in my own apartment, as described in my article from January 2007, Search for Independence.
2. Missing a Bus
Most people may see a bus approaching their stop, and will run (maybe even through a yellow light) and catch that bus instead of waiting an extra half hour. Not possible with me, of course. What’s worse is that sometimes the bus drivers don’t even stop, assuming that I’m waiting for another bus just because I’m not stepping out. But even if they do let someone off at the wrong stop, that person can easily find their way to where they need to be.
For me, even when I give myself an extra hour to get somewhere I haven’t been before, it may not work out. I might get there an extra hour early, which sucks. But when I’m late for a job interview, as an example, the prospective employer just sees me as not being punctual, and I miss out on a potentially amazing opportunity.
And even if money was no object, taking cabs isn’t much easier. Hailing a cab is next to impossible. Most of the drivers don’t understand that I can’t see, and it takes me forever to get them to get me exactly to my address. If I’m lost, cabs will never come to an intersection without a street number, and I can’t see street numbers. So many times I’ve wasted money with cab drivers driving around in circles unable to find my address – and I’ve missed render-vous points for out-of-town business trips.
3. Making an Accounting Error
I’m an entrepreneur and do my own books. Sometimes, in the midst of all those spreadsheets, I will make a transcription error, except I won’t know that I made a transcription error. I may spend the next 2 to 3 hours trying to make everything balance, with no luck. I go over the all the data fields, double checking everything, but my eyes just don’t notice that darn transcription error.
Making phone calls is the same thing. I may misdial a number, not knowing that I misdialed it. All this adds to the time it takes to be productive and get stuff done by connecting with the right people. Not to mention how demoralizing it can be when you realize that half of your time is spend just dealing with stupid things that most people would never need to deal with.
I wonder how much money I’ve lost over the years with mistakes that had to do only with my lack of sight. I know specific examples of being in business partnerships where because of my lack of sight, things screwed up and the partnerships dissolved. It really sucks. But what else do you do but keep going on?
These are just three examples that I thought would be simple to share. There are hundreds more. I am unconsciously competent of transcending (not necessarily overcoming) the difficulties of my life (except at the instance of this writing, of course). I don’t dwell on the challenges, but I share the challenges so that they may inspire you to be more grateful and productive in your endeavors. If I can transcend these challenges, you can transcend yours.
Let’s love the world together…
Danish Ahmed, blind visionary
+1 (647) 439-5011
P.S. What are your three worst life experiences?