My dog got curiously obsessed over a spilled orange juice puddle in a stairwell the other day. He had whatever you’d call horse-blinders but for your nose going on. He didn’t want to eat or drink it (well… he didn’t try, so I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt here), but he also couldn’t focus on anything else in the moment either. Little man was transfixed.
Meanwhile, I was mostly trying to keep him out of walking through it and hoping he wouldn’t decide to lap some up or face plant in it. One dog’s “mmm warm orange juice face bath” is another dog owner’s “dear gods, don’t make me have to bathe him tonight” plea.
He saw the puddle with horse-blinders. I saw the puddle with glasses. His world melted away. My read of the situation said, “let’s move away because this is trouble.”
This distinction is useful. Sometimes we need our horse blinders. Other times we need our glasses.
Horse blinders are for when there’s a specific task at hand. Ain’t nobody got time for that other stuff. Glasses are for when we need to ponder the situation at hand and how it fits into the bigger picture.
Whatever you’re working on, ask if you need the horse blinders or the glasses in the moment. It’s ok to switch back and forth too. But, once you know if you’re the dog or the dog owner in the scenario, either get all up in that puddle or get all up and out of that mess.
Ps. Ok, one practical example. The other day I was lost in spreadsheet hell with a formula that wouldn’t work. I had the horse blinders on. Then, for sake of my sanity, I took a walk and switched to the glasses. On my break, I realized I could approach the problem from a different way. I came back fresh, went back to the blinders, and got the work done, without distraction.