An executive producer I once had dealings with in Hollywood would not only wear his mirrored sunglasses indoors, but would keep them on during meetings. This was irritating, but neither I nor his other friends could talk him out of it. “People love to look at themselves,” he told us. “When they try to look into my eyes, that’s exactly what they’ll see.” He was absolutely persuaded that this would be his ticket to big success, appealing to everybody else’s narcissism. The problem was, he ended up merely advertising his own. A similar problem arose when a guyI fancied took me to dinner, but wouldn’t remove his shades. I felt I was in a 1960s movie and the pleasure of his company wore thin within minutes. He’ll never know what he missed!
These men were hiding from the world, but didn’t realize it. Many of us do this; they were just a lot more obvious about it! This is a good question that any one of us could well ask ourselves: “What am I hiding behind?” Perhaps we hide behind an insincere smile, or a mask of indifference, that covers a vulnerable emotion that might leave us feeling exposed. Perhaps we hide behind the way we dress, or present ourselves talking down to others. Whatever it is, if we hope to progress, we have to get rid of our masks. For the more we hide behind something, the harder it is to take risks when we’re facing a big challenge. We become dependent on our disguises. Food for thought: If you want to try something new, ask yourself: Have I any unnecessary facades? Am I getting in my own way somehow?
The obstacles we create are a form of clutter. As is true of physical clutter in our lives, these inner blockades we sometimes build need to be cleared away as well.