If you run a business, it’s important to be aware of the things your company intentionally doesn’t do. For example, at GreenMellen we build amazing websites, but we don’t take on large eCommerce projects. Those are a different beast, and require companies that can focus on those. By knowing that we don’t do those kinds of projects, it helps us keep focused on what we’re best at.
Similarly, it’s important as individuals to try to define what we don’t know. That’s easier said than done, as it’s tough to even recognize where those areas might be. If you can find them, though, it can be a huge advantage.
For example, I don’t drink much alcohol, so if someone wanted me to buy drinks for an upcoming party I would likely do a poor job of knowing which types, which brands, and what quantities to purchase. By recognizing that shortcoming, I can get the proper assistance and advice to make the purchase.
This stems from a quote from Warren Buffett about investing. A lot of people know a lot of things about a lot of companies, but those that recognize their blind spots generally perform best. From Warren:
“What counts for most people is investing is not how much they know, but rather how realistically they define what they don’t know. An investor needs to do very few things right as long as he or she avoids big mistakes.”
I talk a lot on here about the beauty of making mistakes, but in some areas (like investing), mistakes can be very expensive. Find your blind spots, and treat them accordingly.