DATA, PROOF, REASON
Pro and con lists serve their purpose. So do statistics, bar graphs and pie charts. We make a lot of decisions based on proof, reason, or quantifiable data that increase the likelihood of a desirable outcome, whether it be better profitability, popularity, efficiency, etc.
We’re surrounded with proof of this in practical terms: the tech devices we rely on, the cars we drive (if you’re green and lean, the bike you ride), the pots and pans we make our dinners in. And in a product-centric world, if the pro and con lists and infographics fail to hook us, there’s always advertising; a whole other data-driven industry that supports all the selling and buying to which our capitalist society is committed.
In a political cycle hell-bent on projecting winners and losers through trends/ratings/rankings, it’s all about the polls.
In a litigious civilization where he-said/she-said doesn’t hold water, it’s all about proof.
In a culture where trusting the unknown is about as appealing as running naked and unarmed through an African jungle at night, it’s all about scientific findings and focus groups.
We want to see before we believe.
This is not inherently bad, though it’s troublesome if an over-dependence on data, proof and reason causes intuition to atrophy.
In Wiki-speak, intuition is “the ability to acquire knowledge without inference or the use of reason”. Hmmmm…
How can we know something without proof or reason? And if there is a way to know without proof or reason, what do we do with this ability?
Do we validate it? Do we nurture it? Do we trust it?
Or do we ignore it?
As living beings of the highest order, we humans hold the key to greatness. We integrate our knowledge and education with experience and observations. We create and innovate amazing things. We even solve many of the problems we cause. Sill, when our current condition displeases us and we fail to look within for guidance, we demand reason from the universe and expect an explanation from the galaxy; neither is required to. In other words, we really don’t tend to validate intuition even as it manifests in our courage, creativity, collaboration, problem-solving stroke-of-genius moments. We rarely talk about it in a business setting. No venture capitalist I know would invest in the business of validating intuition.
It’s unfortunate that intuition has such wimpy sounding nicknames: little voice, hunch, gut feeling. It’s difficult to take it seriously with such junior whisper-of-a-mini-flyweight classification. Sneeze and it’s gone.
And yet my intuition tells me not only do we have it; we have the ability to sharpen it and have a largely untapped resource in the power it holds. Yes, my intuition is a bit chatty.
Is intuition profitable? Can it solve our problems? Can we rely on it when we make decisions? Can it lead us to happiness? Can it guide us in a world of chaos and distractions? Can it equip us with that inner strength we need when things around us fall apart?
Can intuition show us the answers to these questions?
In this Shakespearean mortal coil fraught with trial and error where mistake is simply an evolving version of wisdom, wouldn’t it be worth finding out?
This post is a reflection on a recent conversation with a mentor who has validated my intuition.
Do you listen to your intuition? Do you doubt it or do you trust it?