When you learn to drive a car, you are taught to keep turning to check in on your blind spot. It is an important lesson because your rear view mirror doesn’t show you cars that are very close to you. And, since you spend a lot of your energy focused on the road ahead, you need to switch contexts as you turn and ensure you are covered on the sides as well.
As you get better, however, turning becomes less of an event. It isn’t because the blind spot became less dangerous. Instead, it is because your field of vision has expanded. As you drive, you have a map of the road around you. So, as you turn left, you know that the car behind you is a safe distance away.
The disappearance of the blind spot check event is a sign of progress on the driver learning curve. And, checks are a natural step in our journey to pick up a new skill.
For example, when we start working on a new business, it is vital that we check every number regularly. But, the purpose of studying these numbers is to develop a sense for when things are going well and when things aren’t. Similarly, the purpose of the quantifying how much you read or exercise is to build awareness on how you spend your time. Once you develop that sense, you stop doing them and move on to improving other things. We study numbers to leave numbers. We create checks to grow beyond them.
This, then, brings up two questions we need to ask ourselves from time to time –
- What sort of checks do we have in place today? These checks are a proxy for the skills we are trying to build.
- And, more importantly, are today’s checks different from the checks we had in place a year ago?