The Patch Principle

When I was a young kid, I had a lazy eye. That basically means that one eye was much stronger than the other so while my my right eye could focus in with perfect vision, my left eye would be rolling around trying to see clearly. Because my eyes couldn’t work together, I had no depth perception, so simple tasks like learning to catch a baseball become nearly impossible.

The doctor prescribed a remedy that sounded crazy to me. He wanted to me wear a patch covering up my good eye. I was thinking, “That’s Crazy! Why not cover up my bad eye? Now everything is going to look blurry!”

It turns out the doctor knew what he was doing. With my strong eye temporarily out of the picture, the weaker eye had to carry the weight and slowly but surely it become stronger and more focused. By the time I permanently took off the patch, my eyes were able to work together beautifully.

I’ve been thinking recently about how “The Patch Principle” could apply to other areas of life and I believe there are many applications…

In Leadership there are occasions where you can help members of your team overcome their weaknesses by temporarily putting them in tasks or situations where they can’t play to their strengths. Their weak spots will become stronger.

In Sports (and in Management) sometimes the strongest players need to be benched long enough to allow the weaker ones to rise the occasion and grow stronger under the weight of new responsibility. When the strongest players come back into the lineup, their teammates will have developed new strength and confidence making the team stronger.

In Life don’t let your weaknesses hold you back. Instead of covering them over, temporarily cover your strengths and force yourself to grow in the areas of your weakness.

As your weaknesses become stronger, your actual strengths will shine even brighter!


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