Posts tagged: Tunnel Visionary

Taking the blinders off

Kimberly Wilson on tunnel vision

In our Reader Stories series, Unstuck readers share personal stories about getting stuck — and unstuck. Here, writer, psychotherapist, entrepreneur, animal rights activist and yoga teacher Kimberly Wilson talks about feeling stuck as a Tunnel Visionary.

I find myself daily sitting at a desk surrounded by books on writing and Moleskines filled with ideas. There’s also a pile of study materials for an upcoming licensing exam and a nearby shelf overflowing with business books. The feeling of stuckness permeates, so I recently worked through the Unstuck app and was diagnosed as being stuck in this moment as a Tunnel Visionary — blinded to possibilities outside my direct line of sight.

For someone with an entrepreneurial spirit and zest for making things happen who tends to operate with a five-year plan in hand, the future feels cloudy at the moment — out of focus. I’m
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Question: What does it feel like to be in the weeds?

It can be quite satisfying working on a micro level. We’re immersed. We have our finger on the inner-mechanisms. We understand — and control — the details. That kind of familiarity makes us feel like we’re substantially part of something.

Then there are the moments when it stops making sense. Are we doing it just to do it? Are we doing the right thing? Why are we doing this at all? When the weeds grow too tall, it’s a sign that it’s time to zoom out. To step back and cast a dispassionate eye on what is and then ask the broader
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It’s a Wonderful Life: George Bailey gets unstuck as a Tunnel Visionary

His stuck moment: Having lived in Bedford Falls all his life, George gives up his travel dreams to run his father’s business and loan. One Christmas Eve, his uncle loses a large deposit, prompting the town’s slumlord, Mr. Potter, to issue a warrant for George’s arrest. Feeling he’s worth more dead than alive, George jumps off a bridge.

He strays from the usual: Clarence, George’s guardian angel, rescues George to show him what Bedford Falls would be like if he had never lived. Called Pottersville, the town is home to squalor and bitterness, with every friend and relative suffering personal unhappiness.

Unstuck result: By seeing his town from a different perspective, George realizes what a difference he has made and begs Clarence to let him live. His wish is
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Find fresh possibilities in a stale situation

Tunnel Visionary

Getting stuck as a Tunnel Visionary can be trickier to recognize and solve than other kinds of stuck moments.

We think we have all the information, yet we don’t feel fully informed. We puzzle through what we know again and again, but can’t find a satisfying solution. Deep down, we long for the missing link, that tidbit that will instantly make the pieces click together — yet our gaze never strays from what’s already in our line of sight.

Yes, indeed, we’re hemmed in.

And we aren’t the only ones. Oprah Winfrey, Milton Glaser, Rachael Ray, and other famous folk were each famously stuck operating within the limits of what was. But when they shifted their perspective to what could be, great things happened.

There are at least three different ways Tunnel Visionaries burrow into their stuck moments (take our mini-quiz to discover your tendency). Once you understand your approach, it’s a
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You’re the fixer — but you can’t fix it. Now what?

Tunnel Visionary

We are the problem-solver, the fixer, the emotional handyman of our tribe. The world runs more smoothly and smartly because we’re in it.

Keen understanding is the secret to our prowess — looking at all the information and knowing what to do with it. But, on rare occasion, a few pieces of the puzzle are missing, and then we’re stuck. It’s an unfamiliar sensation. We don’t have much practice at this stuck thing, so we feel like we’re stumbling in the twilight, unable to see what we need to make sense of it all.

In this half-blind moment, we’re acting like a Tunnel Visionary, operating without enough information to give us wider perspective.

How do we open our aperture? First, we need to understand the current mindset that we can’t seem to shake. Are we guarded? Fiercely determined? Unduly influenced?

Take our mini-quiz to find out.

Tunnel Visionary mini-quiz
First, think of a time when you were
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Unstuck is about spotting possibilities

It’s easy to get discouraged when it seems like everyone else is having the luck. We trudge to and fro work and home, reminding ourselves along the way that we paid too much for our car, or we haven’t gotten a raise in three years, or the good ones are all taken. Why not me? we ask woefully. Because…we aren’t looking for the possibilities. Our perspective is limited and gone kind of stale. We need to see the world differently. But how? Here are 9 ways to freshen up your
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Unstuck is about blowing up self-imposed limitations

Knowing what we want, like, need, or aspire to are positive forces that push us to push ourselves. To make our lives better.

But we also can stand in our own way by creating rules of won’t and don’t. “I won’t consider anything that involves doing math. “I don’t like that.” “I won’t ask her for help.” “I don’t think I’ll get a good response.” The more we won’t and don’t, the narrower our world becomes.

When we limit our possibilities like this, we can get stuck acting like a Tunnel Visionary. One of the best antidotes we know is to look at the situation differently. If you’re feeling judged, what does forgiveness look like? If you’re overwhelmed with work, what does success look like? Try these 9 ways to get a fresh
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How we get stuck as a Tunnel Visionary

When we get unstuck, it’s because we are running on all cylinders, namely the four fundamental ways that we participate in the world: See, Believe, Think, Act (SBTA).

SBTA is not a magic recipe for success, but the results of consciously engaging these aspects of our behavior can feel magical. And joyful. And very, very encouraging.

On the other hand, any time we’re feeling stuck, it’s because one or more of these behaviors needs to be adjusted—what we call a gap.

A Seeing Gap is when we view the world or a situation as one of restriction instead of possibility. We tend to use the words “can’t,” “won’t,” and “don’t” when describing circumstances. Obstacles appear immovable or unchangeable, blocking any ray of hope. And it may seem like we’re on an endless journey of more-of-the-same.

In these instances, we’re acting like a Tunnel Visionary. Our view is limited to what isn’t working.

• “They won’t ever
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