The Black Hole of Undefined.

Certain tasks are calibrated in our heads. We know roughly the effort and time to be spent and the desired outcome.

Other tasks are Black Holes, entirely undefined. Most people avoid these at all costs. This is why relatively speaking to the world population, there are so few books written, so few businesses started, so few new ideas implemented. Calibrating the effort and reward is impossible.

To break this, defining at least the effort or the reward is necessary. Think about a sales team, it’s unknown the efforts required, but they certainly know the reward (commission) that awaits them.Think about an author, he knows the effort based on how much he writes, but he has no idea the reward for any individual piece until after the work is done. Think about an employee doing repetitive tasks, they know the effort and the wages, so they are lined up for this more often than we find salespeople and authors.

The more defined the effort and reward, the more often the task will be done. Fewer people work in ambiguity even if the rewards are larger. While I’ve only read snippets, this seems to be the heart of what Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art is about. The struggle for us to put in an unknown amount of effort for an unknown reward in the pursuit of creating something entirely new. Our brains aren’t wired for this. Expending energy without reward is our primitive mind screaming at us “You’ll starve at this rate!”.

There is a conundrum here because for those who can overcome this and work in the black hole, they may often find themselves hiring others to fill in some gaps. This is the business owner hiring a graphic designer for a logo. The struggle is that while hiring that person, they are often still in that undefined hole. Often times it’s on the owner to provide a sketch of what they think the logo should look like. When doing so they’ll find a broad range of people to convert it to a better looking format for a low price, even $5 to $10. What happens when an owner wants a feeling to be captured and nothing but a short brief? The amount of people available to deliver it decreases, the price goes up and the uncertainty due to the black hole of what the final product will look like increases. When they nail it though, the owner is often unusually happy. Finding others that can handle the undefined is incredibly valuable.

When you can’t find those incredibly valuable people to fill in the gaps, and it seems like others can’t deliver the undefined work, it’s time to build the structure and define things yourself, then find those who can fill in the smaller gaps.