Negative Capability..

I was recently asked “what is the most fascinating thing you’ve learned in the past month?”

Last week, I finished Mastery by Robert Greene. In it he discusses the concept of Negative Capability. This idea, combined with Greene’s explanation of it’s importance, is the most fascinating thing I’ve learned in the past month.

Wikipedia defines Negative Capability as the “ability of [an] individual to perceive, think, and operate beyond any presupposition of a predetermined capacity of the human being.” It amplifies the power of Positive Thinking, as discussed in books like Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist – and illustrates a critical hurdle in the pursuit of greatness. Greene explains how important Negative Capability is to “Awaken The Dimensional Mind” and embrace the full potential of our creativity – his last step before Mastery.

Many times, what holds us back from achieving what seems impossible is that we conform our beliefs and ideas to fit into a world that others have defined for us. Avoiding this trap is never easy, but doing so – as Dr. Ben Carson points out – is the key to excellence. When we pursue our passions without allowing outside reasoning to influence us: possibilities become limitless.

The ability to “operate” from a mindset not bounded by predetermined capabilities is the most important differentiator between doing work and doing exceptional work. Dimensional Thinking, achieved through a state of Negative Capability, encompasses abilities that I aspire to. These ideas certainly represents the most fascinating thing(s) I’ve learned in the past month and will continue to work on understanding further.

  • Brett

    Great post! Now I have to go pick up Mastery and dive a little deeper into this. Definitely resonates with the mindset of an entrepreneur and describes how most real, disruptive change is made in any industry.

    • Trevor McLeod

      Brett! Not sure why Disqus didn’t email me that you had commented, sorry about that.

      Mastery is a must read man! It’s been one of the most influential books I’ve read in a few years. A perfect strategy for maximizing your potential..