Few days ago, I started reading the book “The Black Swan” by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. Few chapters into it and I had the impression that someone slapped me, or really shaken up my beliefs. In short, Nassim uses the term “black swan” for everything that is unknown, for mankind, for science, for businesses and for individuals.
This idea is the foundation of personal development. The greatest space for improvement is always in the hidden or unknown area of the Joe Harry’s Window.
“Unknown area” is a metaphor for our unknown potential or talent for something that we or other people around us can’t recognize. For example, I did not know that I have a talent for entrepreneurship, until “life made me” to jump into entrepreneurial waters. Neither me nor my closest friends and associates were aware of it. Now, that I have been swimming in these waters for many years this talent is obvious. However, the biggest space for my development was (and still is) in the unknown or hidden area of the Joe-Harry window. Inspired by Nassim’s book, I realized that the potential of the “unknown zone” largely exceeds the field of personal development.
“Unknown zone” has dominant influence to our life and our future. It is way useful to relax and be open to new learnings and new discoveries than stick to old knowledge, old skills or old habits. Change is here to stay. What we know can be a good foundation for effective discovery of unknown area. To be more specific, all my great successes and failures came as a result of discovering unknown things and entering new and for me unexplored areas. For example, I did not know that I would meet my wife by accident. I did not know that a major global economic crisis would begin in 2008, if I knew that I would never start my business. I didn’t know that I would be able to help my wife with baby delivery.
But I learned that all these things are possible only when life unexpectedly put me in these situations.
So how we can we use this awareness? My answer is: Always “Dream big” and “act smart!” “Dream big” because it helps you to see what is not present. There are so many invisible and unknown things that there is no logic to put focus only on what is currently obvious.
If it’s obvious, it’s probably already too late to spend your energy on it.
Only “Dream big” is not enough! To find out something that is not visible at the moment, you need to do something about it – you need to “act smart”. Action is the one that makes real changes in the real world – and not any action, but smart action in the zone of unknown.