You’re Qualified to Use Your Eyes

What’s your favorite food?

For real, take a second and think about it.

I’ll wait.

Got it in mind?

What if I told you you’re wrong and that’s not actually your favorite food?

You might think, “This guy has got some nerve.” And you’d be right to think that. After all, you’re fully qualified to know what your favorite food is.

You know what else you’re qualified for?

To make observations about the world and then to see if they’re true.

Many years ago in central Texas, on an overcast day spattered with grey rain, I walked the mud trails and limestone shelves that wound through juniper cedars. Trails that someday would become the paved paths of Wizard Academy.

That day I met a Wizard, and he told me something special.

Without disparaging education, he said you don’t need a college degree or to wait for anyone’s permission to become a student of the world. You can start right now. As you observe the things around you, seek to understand what makes them that way, and then try to connect those observations to the other things you’ve seen.

And then make a hypothesis as to why you think things work the way they do. And then, most important, find where you were wrong. Because that adds weight to when you’re right.

The Wizard told me that if I made a habit of doing this, I would see things no one else saw. I would know things no one else knew. And I could use my secret knowledge to be successful.

The true value the Wizard gave me that day was not a process. For there is no secret in the process of making observations. Rather, the value came because he empowered me to give myself permission to do these things.

And so, I endow you now as well.

Give yourself permission to study the world.

You’re qualified to use your eyes.

 – Zac Smith, VC