"What we do not see is what we might call the hidden logic of success."
By Sam Yang - Get similar updates here
There is you and there is your potential. Your potential is down there, deep in the unknown. When we make attempts to improve and develop as a better human beings, we pull a little bit more of ourselves out of the depths.
When we see the achievements of others, sometimes it can be discouraging. They are living up to what is natural to them. We see what we see and it looks effortless. What we see of ourselves doesn't impress us much. Nothing comes easy to us. There's a mystery to what separates us from those we choose to admire. From those accomplishments that are seemingly works of born brilliance. How are we to ever hope to be like them? To easily accomplish such great undertakings? As if willed into existence. Yet this is only an illusion.
In her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, Annie Dillard writes:
Swedish Scientist K. Anders Ericsson Refers to This as the Iceberg Illusion
In Bounce, journalist and table tennis player Matthew Syed expands on the iceberg illusion:
The slow incremental build. The hours of improvement. The tedium of practice. And most of all, sacrifice. This is the difference. Bounce demystifies many of our preconceived notions on success:
Yet it is this very notion of our capacity that frightens us. What if we're better than we are and we're not living up to it? What if we aren't as good as we think we are? What if we fail? What if we're only surface level? What if there is too much depth to our soul? And what if we were to succeed; then what happens? We fear what we do not know. We fear what is not current moment. For better or worse, we have grown comfortable with our reality.
An Irish proverb that strikes to the heart of this dilemma:
There is some logic to this aphorism. After all, the new bad thing may be worse than the old bad thing. Yet what is illogical is the assumption that anything new is automatically the devil.
Being afraid of the unknown is akin to fear of your potential. It keeps one from embracing their true power. You vs. can't, you vs. won't, you vs. should. Make peace with the unknown. The great performers can perform anywhere, in front of everyone, against anyone. Glorious triumphs are for those who dare mighty things. Most of us fear what we don't know. Yet the distinction is as thin and fluid as yes and do.
We have one fundamental job, it's the same job we've had since the womb. It's to develop as a human being. As adults, our subsequent careers have sidetracked and made us forget about our primary vocation. It's what leads us to crisis — lost and disjointed.
We must pick up where we left off and reclaim our responsibilities. That means dragging more of that iceberg onto the surface. It takes a lot of time and effort. It also means more learning, laughter, light, movement, love, and more people to join in your journey. We fear the work. We fear to take the first step because we aren't sure where it'll lead. And then there will come a point where we'll need to leap from the gray into the darkness, with faith that we are more than what we think we are. Only then will we find the light. That we are capable of much more.
Useful Companions to This Article:
- Bounce: Mozart, Federer, Picasso, Beckham, and the Science of Success - Matthew Syed
- Pilgrim at Tinker Creek - Annie Dillard