The Black Dot

Nikos Kazantzakis wrote: “Since we cannot change reality, let us change the eyes which see reality.” How great leaders see their world creates their realities. The story of the “Black Dot” captures this simple truth.

“A young professor held up a piece of paper with a small black circle in the middle of the page. He then asked his student what they saw. Their responses, all of them, were the same.  They all defined the black dot explaining its position in the center of the sheet of paper.

He said that the interesting thing was that the black dot made up only 1% of the page, while the remaining 99% was white. He commented saying this was so very much like our human nature – we tend to focus on the black dot instead of seeing all the white space around it.  We have a white piece of paper to observe and enjoy, but we choose to focus on the dark spots.”

The story gives pause to great leaders – the moment to reflect on where their attention is focused – on the minute details, the distractions, the problems, the dark spots? Or, do they choose to focus on the big picture, the broader canvas – that magnificent 99% of white space that can be explored and filled with infinite possibilities for change and growth?

Great leaders find counsel in the words of Henry David Thoreau“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” There is awesome  power in these words as they capture the vital ingredient of you, and how you see the world. You are beautifully special and unique, that additive ingredient to the mixture of life and reality that creates magic. As Anaïs Nin tells us: “We do not see things as they are, we see things as we are.”

May you also teach those whom you serve to see their realities through different eyes. Share this simple exercise with them. Help them see the world differently … and they will change the world.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent, magical week!!!

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2 Responses to The Black Dot

  1. Sandy Rutherford says:

    Interestingly, some people can’t see much in the way of the white space. When we then suggest to “cover up” the black dot and ask “now what do you see”, magic can happen – and a new way forward.

  2. Martin Nicholas says:

    I have eliminated the representation of black or darkness as bad. So a Black dot in a white space is a positive achievement for me. I will look to add more Black dots throughout my life and fill the empty spaces of my life. Yes, I agree with Henry David Thoreau: “It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” I see Black as beautiful as white not less as there is no scientific basis to think otherwise.
    Please stop associating black with any negativity. It will help us to drive out bias against people of colour and remove racial bias which may be ingrained in us.
    Martin Nicholas (Canada) –

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