Lessons from an Exam… the Black Dot

A dear friend recently shared an inspirational video, Exam Lesson, with me suggesting that it may be very worthwhile sharing it with our Three Minute Leadership family given the world in which we are living. Yet something was telling me that this subject had been in our readings several years ago. I did some research and found it. My friend suggested: “In these dark days, it might be advisable to send it again as a reminder that we see good days ahead. Lots of white space for all of us.” My thanks to him for his thoughtful suggestion for our Three Minute Leadership family. He saw white space for all of us.

The Black Dot

Posted on September 6, 2015

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 students 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.

During these challenging times, may we all open our eyes with joyous optimism to the possibilities that life is offering us… that beautiful white space which we can fill with dreams, hope and planning for our days ahead. May we also find, even in that dark spot, opportunities to grow and help others find their own beautiful white space.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

This entry was posted in Perspective and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *