Knowledge is power, but power is not knowledge. That is, to know is to be powerful, but to be powerful isn’t to be in the know.
When you possess understanding or mastery in a given area, it gives you a superior ability to exercise influence in that area. However, it’s quite possible for a person to possess power in some area of their lives without knowing this is the case.
There’s a vast difference between being powerful and being aware of how powerful you truly are.
On a personal level, most of us have had experiences in which we’ve grossly underestimated our abilities. And historically, human judgment has proven to be quite fallible when drawing conclusions about what can’t be done.
It’s one matter to have a thing. It’s another matter to know you’ve got it and to understand how to use it. Humanity is surprisingly good at the former and saddeningly poor at the later.
Part of the problem is that many of us have been conditioned to believe that if something is real, then it must also be obvious. “If I truly had options,” we reason, “those options would be relatively easy to see.” But the record of history tells us otherwise: the more important a thing is, the more difficult it might be to recognize.
If you’re having trouble entertaining the idea of your own power, maybe it’s time to stop expecting the evidence to smack you in the face when you’re not looking.
Innovation is never the by-product of people limiting themselves to the realm of obviousness. Wherever there is progress, there are people who are willing to look where no one else is willing to look.