Blind Spot

Posted on February 5, 2019


Everyday, I must ask myself, demand of myself:

What is my Source?

”The best in art and life comes from a center – something urgent and powerful, an idea or emotion that insists on its being. From that insistence, a shape emerges and creates its structure out of passion. If you begin with a structure, you have to make up the passion, and that’s very hard to do.” (Roger Rosenblatt)

“The success of an intervention depends on the interior condition of the intervener.”


From what Source do our actions emerge? Most of us do not know…

THIS is our blind spot! Individually and collectively…

“The blind spot is the place from which our attention and intention originates. It is the place from which we operate when we do something.”

“We have never systematically looked at the leaders’ work from the blank canvas perspective. The question we have left unasked is: ‘What sources are leaders actually operating from?’

“I first began noticing this blind spot when talking with the late CEO of Hanover Insurance, Bill O’Brien. He told me that his greatest insight after years of conducting organizational learning projects and facilitating corporate change is that the success of an intervention depends on the interior condition of the intervener.

“That observation struck a chord. Bill helped me understand that what counts is not only what leaders do and how they do it but their ‘interior condition,’ the inner place from which they operate or the source from which all of their actions originate.

“The blind spot at issue here is a fundamental factor in leadership and the social sciences. It also affects our everyday social experience. In the process of conducting our daily business and social lives, we are usually well aware of what we do and what others do; we also have some understanding of how we do things, the processes we and others use when we act. Yet if we were to ask the questions ‘From what source does our action come?’ (why) most of us would be unable to provide an answer. We can’t see the source from which we operate; we aren’t aware of the place from which our attention and intention originate.” (Otto Scharmer, Theory U, pp. 6-7)

In order to see, understand, and nurture our Source dimension, there is significant and critical inner work that each person must do. This is essential.

“So, today, I would summarize the source dimension that Bill O’Brien was pointing me towards by differentiating between three inner places or three capacities that we need to cultivate as change makers, innovators, and leaders.

Open Mind

“The first one is the open mind, by which I mean the capacity to suspend our old habits of judgment– basically, to see with fresh eyes.

Open Heart

“The second one is the open heart, by which I mean the capacity to empathize to redirect our attention— to look at a problem not just from my angle, but also from the angle of the other stakeholders that are involved in the situation.

Open Will

“And number three, to cultivate the open will, which is essentially the capacity to let go and let come— let go of the old and let come of the emerging new possibilities.” (Otto Scharmer, Theory U)

Two people can act or interact or react in the same way in similar situations BUT the results are never the same. Because what really matters is the interior condition, the Source from which each person is acting. One person can say something to someone and they become outraged. Another person can say something very similar and they are comforted. It is not so much what we say or even how we say it. What matters is why. What is the Source of my attention and of my intention?

My most basic intention of writing is to shine a spotlight of awareness on our blind spot; the place from which our attention and intention originates and emanates; our interior condition, our source. I need to remember this each and every day; because through lack of consciousness, lack of awareness, by default this is the human blind spot.

What we do and how we do what we do are small matters compared to our state of being, our presence, our mindfulness, that engulfs the why of what we do and how we do what we do. This is our Source.