I’m extremely near-sighted, and I am grateful for it. It gives me a different perspective.
When I was growing up, I saw the world as kind of fuzzy at any distance. I had to squint to see more clearly, and that only worked up to a point.
It meant that, as early as kindergarten, I always had to sit up front to see; and even then, I had to lean forward and squint so I could actually see and read the blackboard.
It might have seemed like a disadvantage; but it had some significant and positive impact: I was always teacher’s pet … Teachers appreciated that I was so intent and interested in everything they had to say. I seemed to be leaning towards them and intently focused on their every word.
In the Spring in 2nd Grade, I got my first pair of eyeglasses! When I got home, I ran upstairs to my room. For the very first time, when I looked out the window into our backyard, I could see flowers clearly, each with distinct separate colors. For the first time, the colors weren’t all merged together in a fuzzy impressionistic view!
I feel myself fortunate and blessed to have been able to enjoy two completely different and distinct views of my environment and the world from a very early age. Blurry and clear – with and without my glasses.
I understood impressionism from a very early age. I understood Monet’s paintings, which showed exactly what I saw without my glasses! I understood Picasso’s paintings of faces where one eye was above the other. My condition gave me the insight that, when you come nose to nose with another person, one of her eyes appears to be above the other, just as in some of Picasso’s paintings.
My nearsightedness has been a significant gift in my life and in my career as a data scientist. I have a natural facility and propensity to see most things in multiple ways and from multiple dimensions and perspectives. I am a kind of involuntary optimization machine; I can’t help myself running through all the different perspectives, combinations and permutations of every encounter and situation.
When it comes to data, this enables me to have levels of perception that help provide understanding and insights (and implicitly counteract biases, Per Daniel Kahneman). These inform and guide opportunities to take positive actions that can increase efficiency and profits in many situations.
It also makes me less afraid to use an external tool to improve a point of view to provide focus and change the blur to clarity.
On the other hand, but for the glasses maybe I could have been Monet.