The theme of embracing the unknown has been popping up a lot recently and I can’t help but wonder if it’s because we’re reaching some kind of tipping point; a point where we’re growing tired of living like robots – robots who are constantly plugged in to some device and unable to make any decision until a computer tells us we should.
Between the endless supply of iPhone apps that promise to increase productivity, to the near daily “do this, do that” lists written by featured gurus on Inc. and Fast Company, we seem to have lost the confidence in ourselves to move into unknown territory and make moves based on what we feel will be the best next step.
Making the Right Choice
We wake up, plug in and do as we’re told all day long – essentially walking around in robot costumes pretending not to be humans – and when moments arise when we’re expected to make a decision, we often look to one of our devices to help us make “the right choice.” But the right choice can’t always be figured out by someone else’s past experience, the statistics on a shiny infographic, or number seven on a list of quick tips posted on your favorite “be all you can be, live your dreams” self-help blog.
The right choice is the one where you use all of the information you have available to you at the time and take action, because the person who is ultimately going to find success is the one who’s not afraid to move forward even in times when the path is not illuminated as clearly as we might hope.
Being Afraid of the Dark
It just seems that with all of the technology and resources available to us today, we may have inadvertently become so dependent on them that we’ve grown afraid of the dark, but standing frozen in fear is not the way out of darkness. Making moves to uncover a source of light is the only way out of the unknown, unless you want to wait for someone else to turn on the light for you, but by then (in the startup world at least) it’s too late, because someone else figured it out before you. They’re first to market. They win.
When the people running companies start relying solely on hard data, business operations will, at some point, come to a halt or fall behind. Now don’t get me wrong, big data and predictive analytics are incredibly important tools that contribute to making well-rounded business choices – no doubt about it – but there is such a thing as overthinking it.
Embracing the Unknown
Here are two recent finds (one business focused and one just for fun) that inspire me to embrace the unknown and reinforce why not always knowing the answer isn’t a bad thing:
- Advice from ‘ZinePak founders Brittany Hodak and Kim Kaupe from their feature on Inc.com on not being afraid of the unknown – these two women are featured on Advertising Age’s 40 under 40 list and are up to claim the Wall Street Journal’s Startup of the Year for generating a forecasted $25M in revenue in just two and a half years.
“We’ve learned that very few decisions are permanent, and even fewer are impossible to recover from. Lead your team from a place of confidence instead of fear to set the tone for success, even in the face of the unknown.”
- Following along as Jessica Walsh learns how to be okay with not knowing where things will end up with her and Timothy Goodman’s experimental relationship on the highly addictive ‘40 Days of Dating‘ blog (fair warning: there’s a reason this site has gone viral – expect to lose at least an hour delving into all the details of their fascinating experiment.)
Humans For The Win
Planning and goal setting have always been an important part of running a business, but I think most of us could work on finding a better balance between the ‘plan-track-analyze’ approach and a good old fashioned “get out there and do the best you can” plan of attack.
Long story short: Dressing up as a robot for Halloween? Cool. Dressing up as a robot before you head to the office?
Not so much.