See the opportunity before it ceases to be one

One of the most popular comments to yesterday’s article on “James Chartrand” was not connecting James saying she never wanted to reveal her identity and the contradiction it creates. We all read the same article, yet came away with different perspectives. After reading my article, it was a like switch coming on for many. They did not realize how the meaning of her words changed when written from the perspective of a woman.

It isn’t surprising we do this in our personal lives as well. Something will be right in front of our face and we don’t see it because our blinders are pointed elsewhere.

Do you see what I see?

Since you guys like relationship examples, let’s use one. I have six friends (male/female pairs) that are attracted to each other. One pair live in the same city, one pair lives in the same state but different cities, the last pair lives in different states. In each situation, the relationship will not move forward (even though they clearly have feelings for one another) because the men do not realize they’ve sent the wrong message to the female. The females tried to push it forward, but the men slowed down progress to a complete stop.

The local pair are attracted to each other but, when the female wanted to move things forward, the male did not want to mess up their friendship. Why did he do this? Because he felt she didn’t reciprocate his feelings to the level he did and he didn’t want to get hurt. The couple that lives in the same state but different cities have known each other for years, were going to try a relationship years ago, it failed (girl tried to move things forward, guy panicked in fear) causing the female to marry someone else and move away. Back home and divorced they are trying again but neither wants to take the first step out of fear of failure. The couple that lives in different states are like soul mates but when the girl tried to move things forward he said he wanted to be friends. Yet, he clearly has feelings for her. Why the hesitation? They live in different states. He doesn’t want to have a long distance relationship with her and she won’t move (anywhere). She doesn’t want to move where he is and possibly not be able to be with him. She doesn’t want to move away from him in case he decides to follow his heart.

All six have told me their perspectives. From the outside looking in, no matter what they say, it’s obvious what is going on. To them, because their blinders are on (protecting themselves from pain), they don’t see a damn thing. Might as well be blind.

Can you see the plateaus?

One of the main reasons why people don’t experience the growth or change they want is because they hit a wall or plateau. In the five examples I gave, each scenario has a plateau (two were business related, three were personal situations). To continue to grow one would have to overcome the hurdle causing them to plateau or hit the wall in the first place. Let me be blunt…most people don’t do that. They either see the plateau and do not deal with it properly (the relationship examples) or they don’t see they are about to hit a wall or they have plateaued at all (the business examples).

If you can’t see it, you can’t fix it and you can’t avoid it, can you?

If you want to receive a business degree, you’ll be stuck taking Critical Thinking classes. In my Critical Thinking classes, most people struggled (if not failed) the class. I ended up carrying my teams. To me, this was a sign that they were not suited for business just as, when I wanted to be a doctor, not being able to turn off my emotions would have crippled my ability to objectively diagnose. My classmates did bad in class because they were unable to spot the real problems being presented, realize their was a plateau to overcome (and how to do it) or notice they were about to walk into a wall.

I recently posted a link to Google’s Browser Size on Twitter. If you look at the page, it talks about resolution and when people have to scroll. The common response, well, let’s look:

@tyme most designers pretty much decided to stop worrying about screen resolution and just wrap their designs in 960px wide containers whitehawk

I received this response via direct message as well. Most designers do wrap content around 960px (or 800px) wide containers. Google’s article was about height, not width:

Consider a “Donate” button on a non-profit site. If it’s far down the page, you may not see it when you first view the page. You can of course scroll downwards, but many people don’t scroll and will miss it entirely.Google Blog

This is clearly demonstrated on Browser Size. “30% of visitors can’t see the donate button, instead they must scroll.” Browser Size is a tool to help designers prioritize content. You know how many people (yes, designers) complain about not having as many subscribers as they want, yet have the subscribe button at the bottom of the page along with their contact information, in the footer? Look at your own browsing behavior. How many times do you go to a site and leave without scrolling? How often do you read and article and stop, without scrolling all the way to the bottom of the page?

Open your eyes. You might like what you see.

Success, of any kind, comes by consistently making the optimal decisions. A key to making good decisions is having a true understanding of the situation in the first place. “I didn’t think” is a common excuse for mistakes. Take a moment and think about the situation objectively as you can. Maybe you’d see:

  • Most bloggers don’t have enough content for sliders, therefore, won’t use them.
  • It is almost impossible to maintain a fake identity and have a large audience. The ability to make a mistake becomes zero because of all the people reading.
  • In the relationship scenarios, since the men rejected the women, the men have to make some sort of sign to move things forward. All the women need is a sign they aren’t going to jump and go splat again.
  • If designers are looking at the width when the focus is on height, what kind of pages are they designing? Are they optimally placing content where the reader will benefit?

If you need a visual, while playing Dragon Age: Origins I finally got to the part where Alistair asks my character to make love. Played 35 hours to get to this point. What happens? See for yourself. My character reaches out to Alistair, he puts his hands over a fire and some weird sort of kiss happens. It was a video glitch (which I hope doesn’t happen again because obviously, I didn’t save that) but that is the situation happens when you don’t see what is right in front of you. When Angel reached out to Alistair, since he loves her, he should have embraced her – and as she said, they will work things out together. James should realize that she can’t embrace people back when they reach out because her identity would be blown, killing the odds for popularity. When my female friends reached out to the guys they wanted, since they had feelings, the guys should have embraced them and held on tight – instead of putting their hands over the fire pushing them away. When a client reaches out to a designer wanting a solution to their site issues, the designer can’t have their hands over the fire and expect to be able to optimally resolve the problem.

Take the blinders off. Being focused is good but being blind is stupid.