Insight is one of those things that is difficult to define. Even Charles F. Haanel, with his powerful prose, has difficulty truly encapsulating what it is. Much like love or wisdom, it’s something that one only truly understands when one attains it. In many ways, it’s like describing a color to a blind person or explaining how weightlessness feels to a person who has never experienced it. We all to one degree or another know what it is, but to actually put it in terms is difficult, to say the least.
This is what Charles F. Haanel attempts to do in Week 15 of The Master Key System — and he does an excellent job.
Insight is …
… part wisdom …
… part seeing things for what they are rather than what we think they are …
… it is understanding rather than knowing …
… it is working with what things are rather than your fantasies of what they are.
Yes, insight is somewhat difficult to define.
Haanel wrote that “Insight is a faculty of the mind whereby we are enabled to exam the facts and conditions at long range, a kind of human telescope; it enables us to understand the difficulties as well as the possibilities in any undertaking.”
You see, it’s not enough to have the goal in mind and to entertain fantasies of what may happen; rather, you have to also visualize the difficulties that may occur in order that you are prepared for them should they occur.
This confuses some people. After all, aren’t we taught to only think about the good and to not think about the bad?
To a point that’s true: if the “bad” thoughts we are entertaining are irrational bad thoughts.
In life, though, when we undertake something, there will be rational difficulties that may come into play.
If we set into action without taking into account those risks, those hazards, those difficulties, then we may be dooming ourselves to failure.
Imagine that you are going to drive cross-country.
Wouldn’t you get your car checked before you embarked on the journey?
Wouldn’t you make sure you had a good spare tire? Your cell phone? Maps? Spare cash for emergencies?
Of course you would! That’s the smart move! If you didn’t, you’d be flirting with stranding yourself somewhere. You’d be putting yourself at the mercy of chance.
The same goes for starting a business.
Or switching careers.
Or buying a house.
Or getting a new car.
For just about anything in life.
Needless risk-taking is dumb. It has become fashionable to look at entrepreneurs and business people and say that they are risk-takers.
That is generally not quite true — and oftentimes it is the furthest thing from the truth.
Entrepreneurs and business people actually work very hard to minimize risk and to put things in place so that in the event the venture fails they don’t lose everything.
Entrepreneurs aren’t placing bets on a roulette wheel and hoping for the best. They use their minds — their insight! — to make the best moves and keep the level of risk at a minimum.
If the risk is too great, they don’t play. They leave that to the fools.
If the risk is reasonable, they play, but cushion their “bets” and try to limit their “exposure.”
Read books about successful business people and entrepreneurs.
Get the truth.
That will give you some insight into what works and what doesn’t.
Take your goal and concentrate on what it will take to attain it. See the good and think about what could be difficulties that you might have to overcome. Imagine yourself going through the actions. Realize what you’ll have to learn. Come to grips what what you are endeavoring to do.
This will give you a certain amount of insight, that wisdom that is oh-so rare and is often the differentiating factor between those who succeed and those who fail.
You can never fail because you read fantastic books!