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Mindset Mondays with DTK – Ep #185 — Certainty is the Obstacle.

When I launched out into the world as a newly minted entrepreneur (read: “right after the final time I got fired”), I was certain about so many things. I knew what I knew and, worse than that, I was certain that I was RIGHT.

Anyone else remember that feeling?

Alan Greenspan, in describing the then internet bubble, used the term “Irrational Exuberance.” I feel like I lived that … until I realized that all those things about which I was certain were the areas where I was limiting my growth — and my company’s growth — the most.

I was so certain about what I saw as true that I didn’t see the possibilities right in front of me.

My certainty was my obstacle.

“Certainty is a cruel mindset. It hardens our minds against possibility.”
— Ellen Langer

Only when I challenged my certainty was I able to see other possibilities. Only when I challenged what I was certain was true could I see other potential outcomes … other revenue streams … other offerings … other market demands … other uncluttered markets … other opportunities for expansion.

Challenging my certainties allowed me and my then business partner to build a company that we grew (and repeatedly reinvented) for 14 years before I exited. And she ran that company for another 11 years after that!

A brilliant line oft misattributed to Twain teaches us that: “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”

I now, as a learned and practiced behavior, challenge every certainty that I hold to explore the possibilities that exist on the far side or that wall.

My goal is, rather than overcoming certainty, to come from possibility by default.

I’m certain that is my path… 😳

Where is certainty hardening you against possibility?


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