One of the very first things they teach you when you're learning to drive is to watch out for "blind spots": those areas that are so close to us that the rear-view mirrors cannot pick them up. We must therefore get out of our comfort zone, turn our heads around and ensure that it is safe to stop or make a necessary turn.

We can apply this metaphor to our own lives at those times when things are "too close" to be properly seen: when our ego and self-love cover up our shortcomings, especially those that only the people closest to us can notice.

I know of someone who, only at the age of seventy, discovered that he tends to talk too much about himself and does not show much interest in others. The price he paid for this was that people were avoiding him. "I wish someone would have pointed it out to me fifty years ago," he said.

There are people who live in denial all their lives and everyone around them is treading on eggshells, afraid to point out what they are doing wrong. Perhaps this is because, in the past, when their blind spots were brought to their attention they reacted very harshly. Because they were not prepared to acknowledge and correct their minor faults, they eventually end up being hit with much bigger problems that could have been avoided.

Wise people are prepared to accept that, as human beings, they are not perfect and that they too have blind spots in their personality. They may appoint a good friend whom they respect and can trust to be honest and open enough to point out their shortcomings. The friend could then, at the appropriate time and place, bring the matter to their attention and may suggest ways to rectify the situation.

Select this person or persons carefully. He or she must be a true friend who has your best interest at heart, and isn't just playing this role to have a go at you or to pull you down.

"When we're doing something right, tell everyone; when we're doing something wrong, tell us" is a common business slogan. It's also the approach used by wise people to get ahead in life. They know that they possess many good qualities but that, at the same time, they probably have others that need some work to be transformed into good traits.

Take action that makes a difference. Find a friend whom you trust and respect and ask him or her to act as your "blind spot checker." Once these are identified, work out an action plan together. Report to your mentor-friend on a regular basis, and you'll find yourself on the road to personal growth and positive development.

Try it — it works!