I had an eye exam today, my first in too long.
I’ve had my current glasses for nearly a decade and no substantial changes to my vision. But there was a surprise.
There’s a defect in my lenses.
It’s a small thing, a little whorl in the glass that warps light as it passes through UV-responsive film. The light is warped before it hits my eyes because of that defect.
I had gotten so used to it, to cleaning the lenses despite it, that I didn’t even remember it until in the big chair next to a tray of other lenses and an opthalmologist raising her eyebrow at me.
“It must have been the heat,” I mumbled. It could have been heat weakening the glass over a decade. My lenses could have been poorly manufactured to begin with. The “why” of the defect now didn’t matter as much as the fact that I had gotten used to it and I was making up excuses for it.
How much like life that was.
In a room devoted to nothing but getting me the best lenses possible based on what I need today, I sat acclimated to old, scratched, and dodgy lenses and explaining why they weren’t so bad.
I walked away with a much more current prescription and yet I’m still wearing my old glasses. I have plans to replace them, just not today. I tested out alternatives with my pupils dilated so much I couldn’t read the labels on the display or the price tags, and I didn’t buy. I needed change, and I have not changed.
The lenses that we use to perceive and understand the world can serve us for many, many years without obvious problems. And yet, because being human means being in motion, a constant locus of change, that consistency can become a disservice.
Whether you’re leading others or working with teammates, keep an eye on your lenses. Take the time to inspect the frameworks you use to perceive, interpret, and evaluate people, arguments, and events. Challenge yourself to make sure that your lenses match where you are in life today, not merely where you once were.
And when you have the opportunity to adopt better-fitting lenses, take it.