When we are launching any big project, our minds hide from us the full truth about how difficult it will be. If we knew beforehand all of the tests we would eventually face, we might never attempt it. Economist Albert O. Hirschman called this the principle of the “hiding hand.” It frees us to dive innocently into challenging work that will probably take longer than we thought and compel us to access new resources and creativity. To be clear: What’s hidden from us are not only the obstacles but also the unexpected assistance we will get along the way.
The day before this came out was the day that I had calculated that I actually can pack up my life in Toronto and go live in the bush, so to speak. The hiding hand and I meet often and every time I am surrounded by helping hands so it never really seems that scary to try something new.