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It’s great to be focused… concentrating on one thing until it’s finished is a skill that’s critical to getting things done.

But there’s a dark side to focus…

Tunnel Vision.

Having a tunnel vision mindset is when you hyper-focus on a single goal or point of view… and in doing so, you fail to see the big picture.

Everyone can be prone to this way of thinking, but it’s a pitfall that often trips up entrepreneurs and gets in the way of their success.

Tunnel vision causes you to focus on only one particular outcome and filter all evidence and information through the lens you have created…   

Which is detrimental to long-term problem-solving and engagement with others.  

Tunnel Vision Leads to Failure in Other Areas

Having a tunnel vision mindset can lead to failure in the most important areas of your life.

When you focus exclusively on one area and one point of view, you block out other information that could be critical. 

When we put too much focus on a need to win and always be right instead of seeing other people’s points of view and acknowledging the value in other outcomes, we fail to allow ourselves to grow through setbacks.

The truth is, sometimes you will be wrong. Sometimes what you’re focusing on isn’t the best way forward.

Having the ability to accept criticism and help when it is offered allows for the growth and improvement you need to be successful.

Where Does Tunnel Vision Come From?  

When you find yourself dealing with tunnel vision, it often stems from a problem with confidence.

Sometimes, it’s because of OVER confidence…

Having confidence is not a bad thing, but when you have too much of it, it can be very damaging.

Overconfidence causes you to overestimate your own personal abilities. People who are overconfident can sometimes have an advantage in business, but these individuals can struggle with personal relationships… 

They’re focused on one thing to the detriment of others, and are not willing to re-examine their point of view.

Being UNDERconfident can also lead to tunnel vision. 

When you see things through the lens of “I’m not enough,” everything seems insurmountable. You’re focused on what’s not working, and you’re not seeing the evidence around you that you are capable, worthy, and successful.

The result is a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy… you see things through a negative light, and it leads to missing out on the beauty and joy around you.

Letting Go of the Tunnel Vision Mindset

The best way out of this is to explore other alternatives and to make a habit of asking yourself “What am I missing?”  

Being too quick to reject others’ ideas and point of view is something to avoid. 

Instead, open yourself to new ideas… even if, at times, this may mean that you discover you are wrong. 

If you struggle with being under confident, make it a point to challenge your own thoughts when they stand in your way. Are things really as bad as they seem? Can you look at things you’ve been considering “failures” and see them as learning experiences?

Again, listening to others is extremely helpful in breaking down tunnel vision. Instead of dismissing the positive things other people say about your abilities or about the situation, really listen to them and accept them as valid.  

Make a habit of stopping from time to time to look around and notice the big picture. It’s something you’ll need to practice, but this is critical if you want to break out of tunnel vision and be successful in life.

Action Points:

Take a moment to reflect. Is tunnel vision affecting your life? If so, in what area is this a problem?

Create a plan to break down tunnel vision… 

  • Write down all the important areas of your life… family, work, health, your passions, friends, goals… as a reminder that there is more to look at than just what’s in front of you.
  • Consider asking people who are close to you for their opinion on things… and take their answers into account. How are you doing in the various important areas of your life?
  • Choose a time every day that you can pause and check in with yourself. During this time, take a few minutes to think about the big picture… Go through the list you made above, and remind yourself that life is bigger than the goal you’re currently focused on.
  • Consider asking someone you trust to help hold you accountable in your journey to break through tunnel vision.

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