Episode # 3: Lessons Learned From The Blind Man Parable

Hooded man with sign asking for help
The third episode of the 52 Guiding Lights, looks at a parable I stumbled across, modified, and added some context to.  It provides a valuable lesson about ‘reframing.’

 

The Parable:

A blind man sat outside a building on the cold footpath with a small cardboard box by his feet.

 

On top of it was a sign which said: “I am blind, please help.”

 

There were only a few coins in the box, when a man walked by.
He looked down at the man and said, “Can I have a look at your sign?”

 

The blind man looked up at the man with vacant eyes and said, “Please don’t take my sign; it is all I have to communicate with.”

 

The man took the sign, turned it around, and wrote some words.

 

He put the sign back so that everyone who walked by would see the new words, turned to the blind man, and replied, “Do not worry about your sign, it is back on top of your box where it belongs.”

 

He took a few coins from his pocket and dropped them into the box.

 

Soon the box began to fill up. A lot more people were giving money to the blind man; nearly everyone who walked by dropped a coin in his box.

 

Later that afternoon, the man who had changed the sign came to see how things were.

 

The blind man instantly recognised his footsteps and called out, 
“Sir, Sir, were you the one who changed my sign this morning? What did you write?” the man asked.

 

“I only wrote the truth. I said exactly what you said but in a different way.”

 

I wrote:
“Today is a beautiful day, but through no fault of mine, I cannot see it.’”

 

***

Reframing the Parable:

 

Hand holding a white frame against a landscape background
Photo by pine watt on Unsplash
We sometimes get blinded by how we see the world or how we perceive the world to be.  Just like a coin, there are two sides; two views.

 

Reframing is a common technique used in counselling to help people who are struggling by offering them an alternate view of something.
For example, you may think to yourself, ‘I never do anything right; it always goes wrong.
You can look at this another way (reframe it) to say, “I make mistakes, but I am also capable of succeeding.”

 

If you are posed with a negative problem or question, such as ‘Why don’t I ever get promoted at work?’ your mind will start to fill in the blanks (make guesses) to provide an answer.
This is a natural behaviour.

 

It follows that if you reframe the problem, the choices will be positive rather than negative.

 

Using the above example, reframe the question or problem to say, ‘What is stopping me from getting promoted?’
Your mind will fill in the gaps that can lead to positive actions.

 

In the parable above, the blind man’s initial message was negative – I am blind.
This new message was positive—it is a beautiful day—followed by the reality that the blind man could not see it, which encouraged people to help his situation.

 

I never had much time for counseling or psychology, but over the last four years, several events have led me to rethink its value.
Thanks to some expert coaching, I would like to think that I am now a better, more positive  person.
Reframing has been one of the main take-home messages and techniques I have been taught.
It takes some mastering, but it is well worth the effort. It allows you to see the other person’s perspective or why they react in a particular way, which can be especially important in relationships!

 

Reframing is a natural positive mindset that can be very powerful and helpful in business, relationships, and life in general.
Till next time,

Calvin

 

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Picture of Calvin London

Calvin London

Calvin runs a boutique consulting company. He is an established author of over 50 publications but started this site to explore the lighter side of life and all the curious things it has to offer. He is developing a career as a freelance writer.