As I sit here now, I feel the warm sun on my face and hear the children afar. I notice the walkers, bikers, skaters, and strollers all scoot by me. I hear the humming of the highway adding to the noise behind me and birds of many kinds in the trees above. I see the sand as it runs into the water. I smell the hot dogs being sold down the way and the freshly cut grass off in the distance. Chomping down on my cone, the mint of the ice cream tingles my nose and freezes my forehead. The crunch of the chocolate chips, and well, one can get lost in such a beautiful place and never return. I begin to wonder. . . .

I know a person who sees nothing. Nothing in his life, nothing in his past, nothing in his future, and nothing in his hands. He sees nothing for him, nothing for his family, and nothing for happiness. In fact, his view of himself has led him astray and on the path of drugs and alcoholism—his nothingness in life has pointed him on this path. Now, just turned 50 years old, he finds himself alone and on the street. The nothing he sees is now his reality, and what he sees still, at this point, is nothing. One could see him and think he is blind. He was born of perfect mind and body, born with all the needed qualities in life, born to a loving and caring family, born to live in this land of opportunity, and yet he is blind to who and what he is. Sitting here now, I wonder how one arrives at such a place and can see life this way. I am this man’s only son.

I find myself now sharing with you what I see, but the ironic thing is that I am what some would call a blind person. I see with my eyes some, but only to a point. Being legally blind, or a person with a vision impairment, I am often asked, what do you see? From this question I now bring you these thoughts.

Many of the great have told us many things. For example, Jim Rohn says, “For things to change, you need to change.” Isn’t that the truth? I have challenged that statement once or twice myself, and it always seems to come out true for me. The lasting changes come from my changing each time.

Now, do not get me wrong: I love my dad dearly and always will. He and I both know I am there for him, and he makes choices each new day. The future is his to see, and he will decide how he sees it.

The question, then, is what do I see? I do not see things from a distance. I do not read unless I have to, and then it is with a highly powerful magnifier. I do not have extra special senses such as touching, hearing, tasting, and smelling. However, I do feel I have learned to utilize my other senses more than the average person. I especially rely on my hearing a lot more than most people do. Not that I hear better—I just have learned to use it for seeing things.

From this I have discovered that anyone can further take advantage of each and every sense more. Really, it is as simple as being aware of the sense and then deciding to strengthen its use like you would a muscle. Listening is a skill you can develop to learn to hear more. Listen to tones in people’s voices, listen to the pauses or lack of pauses in their words, listen to the volume of what they say. Look to listen, too, at how they move while talking to you. Being aware first is the starting point. From there you will play and work with your senses to see how you can learn to “open your eyes” to all that happens around you and to you.

So I sit here now . . . what do I see? Great question, really. Do I see that hot dog stand? Yes, I do. I walked by it on the way here and can picture it now as the smell reaches my nose. Do I see all the people passing? Sort of: I hear the little wheels of the skate board and the weaving of the kid on top. I see the four wheels with two feet attached by a handle in the rear. Now, do I see faces? No, I do not, but I do see people: I hear a voice and know the one pushing the four wheels is a woman excited about the trip coming up this weekend. I hear the flash of metal of a man announcing, “On your left!” So really, I do see.

What do you see? Are your eyes open? Sit down here with me and let me know what you see.

See the sand? See the sun? How about those people passing by? Where would you say we are sitting? Some beach in California, Mexico, or on some tropical island?

I ask you now, while you are sitting here with me, are you going through your life with your eyes open? Or are you going through life blind, so to speak, like my dad? Sadly enough, many people do walk through life blind, not even knowing they are in control. I, too, could have decided to follow in his footsteps like so many of my other family members. I feel really that it all comes down to choices—choices made, both big and small, each day.

From a distance I do see. I see people can choose to see things differently, even from the same vantage point. I see that people can see what they want to see, be it true or not true. I notice that people need to be more aware of what is going on around them and pay more attention to choices they make in relation to their results in life.

Since you are sitting here with me now, let me share something with you: Open your eyes just a bit more. . . .

See that warm sun that hits our faces? Some would not see that sun—some would see the dark clouds off in the distance and the fact that it is March 3 in the Pacific Northwest and only 48 degrees.

See the children playing? Some would see the one arguing with his mom trying to get his way.

See the walkers? Some would see the gang of kids and fear for their safety.

How about the sand and water? Well, some feel that this is a filthy, dirty duck pond that needs to be removed and replaced with metal and concrete. Some would hear that the birds are several crows yelling at each other and the highway behind us full of noisy horns and sirens.

I think you see where we are now. We are sitting here together on a bench by a tiny park that needs upkeep. Here, on a bench where my dad would choose to sleep while it was cold and dark until the police woke him and told him to move along or some other people stopped to harass him.

From this bench, from the same vantage point, we each see something different. We choose what to see each and every day from each and every bench we sit on.

Next time you sit on another bench, I encourage you to pay closer attention to what it is you are truly seeing. Better yet, pay close attention to the choices you make based on what you see. Continue to ask yourself each time you sit down, are my eyes open?

** This article is one of 101 great articles that were published in 101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life. To get complete details on “101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life”, visit

Author's Bio: 

Shane Belceto is an energetic, smart-aleck, stay-at-home dad who discovered the world of personal development and success once he was introduced to Jim Rohn. Believing that all of us should use all the senses we are given to their fullest potentials, and not letting his visual disability get in the way, Shane is now developing to take his passion for personal development online and to the world, providing a safe place for tools, support, and fun, while proving that anyone can succeed, no matter what.