While reading the book Mastery, I came to know about an astonishing fact that was so simple and yet never occurred to me before. It is said that the great advance in human civilization came due to two main reasons:
1. Better vision through our eyes
2. Retaining stuff in memory that was perceived through senses
A combination of the above two factors resulted in humans starting to figure out maps that again improved the imagination that manifested itself into understanding the surroundings in more general terms.
Over the course of a long period of time, our powerful brain was filled with a lot of information. From here, the human brain became able to perform miracles in connecting ideas and creating new inventions. Both this higher understanding and better imagination generated perceptions about reality that now exist in every single one of us.
However, ever so gradually (and without us knowing), we have distanced ourselves from the actual reality around us.
Now there are 7 billion people on earth and there are 7 billion different worlds that exist in their heads. Naturally, that perceived image of reality is mixed with a lot of noise around it in our minds that was induced by our biases, emotions, thoughts and upbringing.
Just take a little step back from whatever you already know for sure. We can’t know the truth unless we become a neutral observer and throw all opinions we ever have had.
Feel the reality, just like you feel the wind blowing in your face. You let it come, you don’t impose your parameters on it.
Remember that a major reason why people fail in different endeavors is that what they are thinking is not there. And unfortunately, no amount of preconceptions and visualization is going to change whatever is out there.
This truth manifests itself in various forms.
- You want to unlock a great scientific discovery: Wishful thinking does not produce results. Only neutral observation and rational interpretation of facts does. The most famous example of the former is the futile attempts of the alchemists to turn base metals into gold, while one of the latter is the discovery of principles underlying invisible electromagnetic induction by Michael Faraday. Such an approach opens the doors for creativity.
- You want to have a better viewpoint about life: This was brilliantly explained by the American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr (The Serenity Prayer):
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.
- You want to build a business: Only those products sell which people are willing to pay for. Ask the universe this question fairly quickly if you don’t want to fail. This is a simple truth but countless entrepreneurs and companies have learned this lesson the hard way. That coincides with the Iron Law of the Market, mentioned in The Personal MBA:
“Even the most ingenious idea will fail if no one wants it – creating something no one wants is a waste.”
- You want to improve your social interactions: We will discuss it in detail in a future post. Suffice it to say that it is much easier to assume what’s going on in minds of other people and “exactly” figure out their motivations. Accepting the fact that social interactions are substantially more complex than that – moreover, heroes and villains do not exist in black and white – is often harder though.