As we navigate what we think is right in politics, finance, with COVID, and the many complex issues we face, let’s remember the place, the power, that intuition, our “gut feelings” have. We all have heads and hearts, and we are at our best when we allow our thoughts and actions to be determined by a careful blend of the two. At home, at work, in politics–in life.
That is the subject of today’s 15 minute episode.
In my life, I have been wrong every time–every time–that I allowed my intellect to override my gut instinct. Scientists and police detectives often say they were successful in achieving a breakthrough or catching a dangerous criminal because they, “Had a hunch.” Both scientists and detectives pour through a lot of data, but that is often not enough; they frequently rely on their instincts.
Christian theology believes in a triune God, which includes the Holy Spirit. Many religions make reference to the spirit or spirits which teach and guide us differently from their texts and verbal traditions. Both are necessary. The texts and sermons teach and guide through our heads, and the spirit teaches and guides through our hearts, our guts. That’s partly because overall we learn in both ways, and in part because there is no way that any of us could grasp any part of God solely through our intellects.
Today’s Key Point: My heart, my gut, connected in my case to the Holy Spirit, drives what I write and speak about here at Revolution 2.0. For example, when it is clear that I am trying to force the words out, I have learned that is my clue to stop and to completely start over. I do my best work when I am simply taking dictation, banging away at the keyboard with my inefficient typing style. My intellect drives my continuous data collection process, and is in control of research, verification, use of multiple technologies, word selection and spell checking–but the Spirit is in charge of the topics and direction.
I have angels who remind me of the presence and power of the Spirit. I know that you do, too. One angel appeared to me years ago in a foreign train station, dressed as a businessman in a light blue suit, making a critical and completely impossible connection work step by impossible step. Another appeared recently in a phone conversation with a new friend. When we were sharing parenting issues and solutions with each other, something happened, giving power, clarity and a sense of the eternal to his words. It was as if the conversation stopped being between the two of us, and another entity, an angel, stepped in, using his voice to teach and guide both of us.
Then there is a recent dream. The meaningful part of my dream starts with me sitting on the ground outside of a church resting against a pillar. I wasn’t thinking about much of anything when a pleasant looking man, about 35 or so, walks up and asks, “Do you mind if I sit with you?” “No” I replied, moving around on the pillar a bit to make room. As we start talking about this and that, the opening chit chat that starts many conversations with friendly strangers, I notice that he was more than pleasant. Even though he was looking away as we spoke, there was something like a glow that seemed to fill his personal space and the space around him. We must have gotten to the part where we started talking about our professions. I remember telling him that I was a podcaster, and that I was involved in selecting new software and trying to work harder and smarter to understand the political and financial world around me. I added that I wanted to express the truth in a memorable and persuasive way. That caused him to look my way with the beginnings of a smile on his face. But the glow increased, and increased far more than a slight smile might explain. In the moment that I was talking to him about my intellectual pursuits to strengthen the quality and influence of my podcasts, I stopped and surprised myself by saying, “I have the wrong main focus, instead of my priority being getting better intellectually, I need to be a better person, a better Christian, and make that the focus of my podcasting ambitions.” He looked away, with the glow again increasing in intensity, and said, “There’s another one the devil will not get.” I surprised myself again when I said, “I cannot be a good Christian with intellectual pursuits as my main focus.”
He turned to look directly at me, seeming to penetrate me with his eyes, with the glow increasing in intensity yet again, a glow that was at once joyful and comforting. With his face a foot or so from mine. With warmth, intensity and expectation he asked, “Do you know why?” “Yes” I said, finding the words as I spoke them, “Because if I focus on my mind, my intellect, I can never come to Him as a child, as He has said I must.” He seemed to come closer, his smile increasing as the glow grew and filled the entire world of my dream, suffusing every cubic inch, every molecule, with warmth and light.
And the dream ended, right then and there. He did not have any final words, but I could see that he was well pleased with my answer. And a new focus for my life, including my professional life as a podcaster, began.
None of this should be taken to mean that I place little value on intellectual pursuits, in my life overall, and with Revolution 2.0™ in particular. Head and heart are both vital, in the same way that an intensive search for facts and listening to your gut are both valuable. Intellect and instinct. How do you balance the two? Well 75%/75% seems about right. (Those of you who follow Revolution 2.0 know that I do not see the world as needing to add up to 100%.) Depending on what you are thinking about, and where you are in the process, one or the other may appropriately be emphasized, but you put yourself at risk if you do not give full attention to both before coming to a decision and taking action.
Many religions appeal to both the head and the heart. Christian teaching has it that Christ sent the Holy
Spirit to inspire us, teach, comfort, and guide; the heart part. The Bible works on us through our heads; the Holy Spirit works on us through our gut. My dream was the Holy Spirit working on me, reminding me that I need to follow both my gut and my head in life and in my profession as a podcaster.
Everyone from fictional characters like Sherlock Holmes to successful scientists sometimes rely on their gut instincts to solve problems and to get results. Here is a quote from Carol Kinsey Gorman writing about intuition in business. “Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, and Conrad Hilton are famous examples of executives who relied heavily on intuitive business decisions. A story about Conrad Hilton highlights the value of what was referred to as ‘one of Connie’s hunches.’ There was to be a sealed bid on a New York property. Hilton evaluated its worth at $159,000 and prepared a bid in that amount. He slept that night and upon awakening, the figure $174,000 stood out in his mind. He changed the bid and submitted the higher figure. It won. The next highest bid was $173,000. He subsequently sold the property for several million dollars.”
And, “At the New Jersey Institute of Technology, Douglas Dean studied the relationship between intuition and business success. He found that 80 percent of executives whose companies’ profits had more than doubled in the past five years had above average precognitive powers. Management professor Weston Agor of the University of Texas in El Paso found that of the 2,000 managers he tested, higher-level managers had the top scores in intuition. Most of these executives first digested all the relevant information and data available, but when the data were conflicting or incomplete, they relied on intuitive approaches to come to a conclusion.”
I do not believe for a second that having the right intuition or gut instinct is a matter of luck. It is a matter of listening. Intuition and gut instinct can be as reliable as hard data and rigorous analysis if we will take it seriously and listen. Rigorous analysis without listening to your gut can be dry and brittle, and put you on a suboptimal or simply the wrong path. Listening only to your gut can have you orbiting Pluto, shouting things like, “But I believed!”
I am going to honor my dream by allowing the Holy Spirit, a key part of my moral compass, to guide me in life and with Revolution 2.0. The Holy Spirit, working through my gut, will lead my intellectual process. As any moral compass should. What is your moral compass? Do you recognize the angels in your life? And are you allowing them and your moral compass to lead? At home, at work, in politics–in life.
Tell me what you believe. I and many others want to know.
As always, whatever you do, do it in love. Without love, anything we do is empty. 1 Corinthians 16:14
As we get ready to wrap up, please do respond in the episodes with comments or questions about this episode or anything that comes to mind, or connect with me on Twitter, @willluden, Facebook, facebook.com/will.luden, and LinkedIn, www.linkedin.com/in/willluden/. And you can subscribe on your favorite device through Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify and wherever you listen to podcasts.
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Will Luden, coming to you from 7,200’ in Colorado Springs.