The Double-Edged Sword of Certainty

Recently on a lovely Saturday evening my husband and I were sitting outside. The sky was filled with pink, fluffy clouds and the air felt fresh and clean after a rainy day. 

Skygazing, I noticed Venus in the early evening sky appearing with another star.

“Look,” I told my husband, “It’s a double planet – I wonder which ones they are?”

My husband shook his head and said, “I don’t see it.”

Not to be deterred, I came inside and Googled “planetary conjunction” (there was one last spring.) Slightly surprised that I didn’t see anything, I forgot about it until the next day when we were on the golf course. 

My husband set his ball on the tee, and I was startled – I saw a pair of golf balls where there should have been one.  I looked around and nothing else appeared in pairs. 

It was then I realized the “double planets” from the evening before most likely was a vision problem. 

Up until that moment I was so very certain of what I had seen in the early evening sky the night before. I hadn’t even considered that I had a vision issue.

Later that week I visited my ophthalmologist for a very thorough eye exam. The result – I now needed a completely different eyeglass prescription.  (Thankfully, it was not the brain tumor or various other neurological disorders I had Googled throughout the week.)

Since I had my eye exam, I now notice where my eyes are straining, how I don’t see the street signs as clearly as I once did and there are a few more typos in my writing. It took double vision to see something that had been slowly occurring over a few weeks or months. I had chosen to just ignore it because I was certain that I was a person who only needed glasses for reading.

When I work with my clients, we often talk about having Vision with a capital “V” and creating a mindset to achieve that vision. Often to the point where the entrepreneur or CEO needs to believe (and get others to believe) in a future that does not yet exist.

I believe having a vision along with a growth mindset is necessary for success. But somewhere we need to consider how to be curious, look at the data and other clues along the way. Certainty without curiosity allows us to dismiss or ignore the very obvious right in front of us, often creating false narratives or misdirection.

Ironically, it is curiosity that often helps create our vision – creating solutions for problems others have missed. We shouldn’t ignore it when the facts around us are telling us a different story.