There is a critical difference between can’t and haven’t yet figured out how. This is true for most everyone, but especially true if we can’t see. Sure, there are some things that depend on seeing, with no way of getting around that. Picking a few of the obvious: driving, playing professional baseball, visually appreciating a spectacular sunset and looking around the room to see who came to the party are currently not in the cards for us if we can’t see. Even so, the list of things that require seeing is a lot shorter than most people think. And even for those things we can’t do, we still have options.

Driving is out for me, but I still can get to wherever I need to go. Playing baseball is out for me, but I still can be a baseball fan and enjoy the games. Watching a spectacular sunset is out for me, but I still can appreciate the joy others have when they describe what they are seeing. Visually scanning the room is out for me, but I still can listen and have conversations, gradually figuring out who all is there.

Let me suggest that you think about BATS whenever you are frustrated or annoyed by not being able to see, when you want to do something and think you can’t because you can’t see. What do BATS have to do with it, you ask?

Thanks for asking. BATS stands for “Best Alternative To Seeing.”

When we put BATS first, “I can’t see” is never the end of it. Any time there is something we need to do or just want to do, the challenge is to figure out what our best alternative to seeing is, while still being able to do whatever it is we need or want.

Step one is to remind ourselves that we are only blind in so far as we can’t see. Others may at times relate to us as if our limitations are more extensive, but we know that is not the case. Can’t see is where it starts and ends.

I do understand that any of us might have more than one limitation, but even so, each limitation is what it is, no more, no less. Our challenge is to figure out how to do what we need or want to do, in spite of our specific limitation.

Of course the alternatives to seeing depend on exactly what we want to do. The available alternatives when we want to go to school are not the same as when we want to go shopping, not the same when we want to go for a walk in the park as when we want to see what’s happening on Facebook. Our needs and wants range from little things to really big things, from the fairly easy to the complex and difficult.

Sure, we need to know what those alternatives are and how to access them. That’s the easier part of the success equation. The harder part is deciding just how much we really want whatever we have identified for ourselves. The issue is that it is always easier and simpler to just stay at home and do nothing. Let me share a very brief story from my past. I think you will get the point.

I was a Freshman at Ohio University and sitting in the office of my academic counceler. I was frustrated and generally feeling sorry for myself. He said, “Here’s what you need to know. No one, with the possible exception of your mother, cares much one way or the other about whether you graduate or not. All the caring is up to you. This time next year, only you will really understand how much you did or did not care.”

The point indeed relates to big wants, but it applies to those little wants that come up every day; but I’ll bet you get the point, don’t you?