Blinders - on or off?When you have conversations with people, sometimes they may make one of two references:

“I just put my blinders on and ignore…”

“I have to put my blinders on and keep moving forward…”

The first statement is one of turning our eyes from what is happening around us – probably inappropriate behaviors of some sort – and just focus on what we want to focus on.

The second statement is one of looking straight ahead, a clear focus of where to go and what to do, and keeping the initiative on-track and achieving intended results.

Both are very different types of blinders. Each produces very different results.

While the first is one of inattention, the second one is of determination. The first is usually a bad action; the second is usually a good action.


Inattention. In the first, if you are purposefully ignoring inappropriate behaviors, wrongful actions, or a degradation of results and do nothing, then you are not fully engaged in the true purpose or mission of whatever you are involved in. Eventually, all will fall around you.

A question to ask is:  Was it worth it to have your blinders on?

Determination. In the second, if you are purposeful in your mission and focused on its’ rightful achievement, then you are fully engaged and avoiding the noise or the distractions to keep all aligned and moving forward. In the end, your goal may be met and success achieved.

A question to ask is:  Was it worth it to have your blinders on?

I would argue that the first statement is usually never a right choice, and the second statement is usually always a solid choice. Don’t be ignorant in what is going on around you, especially if it is destructive in nature or holds initiatives or missions back. Be purposeful and focused, but don’t let people distract you from a rightful, meaningful goal.

In the first case, take the blinders off and do what is right for the overall mission or goal.

In the second case, keep the blinders on to maintain focus and purpose.

The choice may not always be clear, so how do you tell the difference? Pause yourself for a minute and ask yourself a few questions:

  • Time to open your blinders: Given what is happening, is the impact negative for the organization, people, or situation? Will the primary mission or goal be side-tracked or overcome by negative actions or attitudes? If so, then keeping your blinders on is probably not a good thing.
  • Time to peak through your blinders: Are people questioning your motives? Are people leaving your organization or abandoning you in meeting the goal? Are you placing meeting the goal over all else? If so, then opening your blinds a little is probably a good thing to ensure you are still on the right track. Make an assessment and determine if you need to make any adjustment.
  • Time to keep your blinders on: Are people whining with no real facts or logic to back-up the complaints? Is there just a lot of distracting noise going on? If so, then keeping your blinders on is probably a good thing. Keep moving forward.

What questions would you consider to determine whether or not the blinders should be opened or not?