It was a simple job.
All I was supposed to do was clean the upstairs window of the old barn, which had built up a significant layer of grit and grime. But my mind started to wander as I began scrubbing, and soon I found myself thinking of two guys by the names of Joe and Harry.
In 1955, Joseph Luft and Harrington Ingham came up with a useful and simple tool for improving self-awareness and relationships. To title their invention, they squished their first names together, thus forming…the Johari Window.
By now I had stopped my window-cleaning chore entirely. I was staring at the four panes of glass in front of me, remembering how the Johari Window worked.
Let’s say each pane represents a different way of looking into oneself. The first pane is called OPEN, and it represents those things I know about myself and am willing to share with others. It’s the way a window’s supposed to work. I see out and others see in.
Another pane is called HIDDEN. It represents the stuff I know about myself, but wish to keep secret from others. It acts more like a one-way mirror, I can look through it, but no one can see me.
The third pane is called BLIND. Within this pane are the things others know about me, but I don’t recognize. It’s a one-way mirror from the opposite side. This time, I don’t see what’s going on.
Finally, there is the UNKNOWN pane. It represents the things that no one, including me, has figured out about myself. The view is blocked from both sides.
Over the years and thanks to friends and some professional assistance, I have worked to clean up and expand my OPEN windowpane, while decreasing my BLIND and HIDDEN ones. The UNKNOWN pane represents all my potential yet to be discovered by anyone.
Eventually I came out of this mental conjecture, and realized I had been standing in front of the same window for almost an hour. It was still dirty, but at least I’d remembered a simple method to help clear up the different panes of perspective I look out from each day.
And isn’t that the most important window I need to keep clean?
About the author
Since founding The Change Companies® in 1988, Don has worked with approximately 150 agencies and corporations, tailoring Interactive Journals to serve those working and participating in the caring professions. His collaborative efforts in substance use, justice services, impaired driving, healthcare and education have consistently focused on helping individuals explore the process of positive personal change.
Earlier in his career, Don worked in many industries, including hotel management, publishing, higher education administration and healthcare business development. Along the way, he created numerous companies, experiencing both successes and failures. Many of these life lessons and joyous observations found their way into Don’s recent book, The Adventures of Binder-Man.
Don is most proud and appreciative of the outstanding employees who have shaped The Change Companies® for over two decades.
Word of the Week
The Latin word jacere meant “to throw,” and is linked to other modern words like “reject,” (to “throw” back). Combine this root and Latin’s con (“with”) and you create the action of throwing things together. “Conjecture” is used abstractly these days to describe the throwing together of ideas or guesses to form a speculative opinion. The phrase is often used in mathematics to refer to something that looks correct, but is unproven.