Albert Einstein said,
“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.”
When you understand some of the differences between the conscious (rational) mind and the subconscious (intuitive) mind, it is easy to see why Einstein would make that statement. None of us want to be that pilot who “went with his gut” over the data in front of him and made a disastrous decision (see previous message). The trick is to turn the tables. Make intuition the servant and the rational mind the gift. Pull the lever and activate your inner Columbo.
You remember Columbo – the character played by Peter Falk in the 1971-2003 TV series about the Los Angeles homicide detective, Lieutenant Columbo, who used his humble ways and ingenuous demeanor to winkle out even the most well-concealed of crimes.
Colombo was the master of making intuition his servant. He had no problem if others thought he was the dumbest guy in the room. He would listen and observe while fumbling around with his trench coat looking for a cigar. All the while he was silently following a hunch. Just as he was about to walk out the door, he would turn around and say,
“There is just one more thing….”
Next came a question that nailed the culprit.
Investigation is the revealer. Our conscious mind is processing a mere 2,000 bits of information per second compared to the 4,000,000,000 bits of information our subconscious mind is processing each second. The reason I say it is like catching lightning in a bottle is because the subconscious mind doesn’t differentiate fact from imagination. By the way, for the last several moments while you were reading this, a spider was descending from the ceiling on a web and is just about to land on the back of your exposed neck.
You get my point. No spider but your subconscious mind matched those words to an image of a spider, perhaps a vivid and disturbing one.
The intuitive mind is picking up signals much faster than our conscious mind and trying to tell us something about a situation.
“I worry. I mean, little things bother me. I’m a worrier. I mean, little insignificant
details – I lose my appetite. I can’t eat. My wife, she says to me, ‘you know, you can really be a pain’.”
We tend to think that some people are naturally more intuitive than others. That may be partially true, but it is more accurate to think of intuition as a skill that is developed and master through repetition.
We are fond of saying, for example, “That’s women’s intuition.” However, one study showed that men have plenty of intuition but may habitually choose to ignore it more than women. They demonstrated that by offering incentive (pay) for the use of intuition and “Voila” men’s intuition magically matched that of the women in the study.
Michael Hyatt says,
“Leadership is less about having the right answers and more about having the right questions.”
Without good questions, intuition is nothing more than assumptions that could be completely inaccurate. Both in business and our private life we do well to recognize that we may be the worst person to know what is accurate because we are too close to a given situation.
You can help me think of more, but here are four areas I can think of where this happens. The expectations we have of others, communication, marketing, price setting.
It is amazing how many companies have no idea why they hire for certain positions. They just fill an open spot because it is vacant. Too many supervisors treat an opening like another box to put a checkmark in with little to no thought given as to why the position is needed. Most of the thought is “I’m busy. I need help.” Then after the hire the same supervisor is too “busy” to properly train the new hire and speak clearly about the expectations for the job. They just assume the person will know.
Same as the above but with the encoding and decoding of what is said. We have a nagging feeling something is off but we filter our thoughts with our own encoding and decoding rather than sitting down (or picking up the phone) and having the difficult conversation. (See article on Mind the Gap HERE
A lot of money is thrown out the window because “this is the way we have always done it.” We spent “X” amount last year. We will add 3% more this year and hope for a better result. Or, if we pay attention, we craft messages we think people want to hear, but we have no way of knowing because we haven’t put any kind of tools in place to ask and measure the response our ads are getting.
We charge a particular amount because we intuitively think it is what someone will pay or we just look at our “competition” and go a little lower. Like Forest’s mom said, Stupid is as stupid does.” Our customers are in the best position to tell us about our prices. We may be leaving a lot of money on the table because we haven’t asked the question.
What am I missing here? Why not send me a note and tell me?
Has anything been nagging you? Take one minute for quietness. Stop and close your eyes and think of the one action you could take today that would make you more peaceful at 8:30 this evening. Do that thing today.Warmly,