As an engineer and an engineering manager I continually strived to push people to maximize their performance based on their intellect, not knowing that creative genius is a combination of intellect and intuition.
The ability to think, to reflect on ourselves and our behavior and to plan ahead, may be the feature that most defines us as humans. But thinking is not an unmitigated blessing.
There are many ways to define intuition, but all present a kind of conundrum. The act of reflecting on intuition is precisely what intuition isn’t. Intuition is really your brain on autopilot, performing its actions of processing information outside of your awareness that it’s operating. It’s non-conscious thinking.
Non-conscious processes operate all the time in complex decision-making. Often enough, we just don’t give them credit. Often we cite rational-sounding criteria for our feelings and actions and do not disclose the subjective preferences of feelings that arise spontaneously.
It is very rare to find humans with both high intellect and high intuitive abilities. These exceptions are the very rare ‘creative geniuses’ who have made some of the great breakthroughs of our time. Surly Thomas Edison and Alexander Graham Bell were in this group.
In my recent studies of the late Steve Jobs undoubtedly was one of these ‘creative geniuses’.
When he was nineteen, Steve Jobs traveled to India where he stayed in few remote villages. There he learned from a Buddhist guru, the art of staying calm and focused. Even his Zen capabilities are attributed to these origins. In his interviews, he often states that, in order to get thinking and predicting the next item that people need in the future, it is very important to enter a state of complete solitude, peace and calmness. In this state, the power of intuition and that of experimental wisdom hit us where we can start thinking eliminating all other worries that sit at the back of our head. The human mind is perennially restless with the fast pace of life and other human behavior, but once we learn how to focus and pay attention to all the subtle things around, our intuition begins to blossom. We can concentrate on our study even more and focus our energy in the right direction. Our work seems to be getting optimal results and we can visualize a tremendous expanse at that very moment. Creativity hits its peak at that moment and this is when Steve Jobs, as he claims, helps him get his way. The sad part of this is he would be most likely be with us today had he relied on his doctors instead of his strong determination to heal him.
Steve Jobs was well known for his impatience and demanding personality, but much of this was probably a direct result of dealing with people who had little understanding of his expectations and vision.
Developing a balance between intuition and intellect, however, is not achieved overnight. It is not merely a power, but a discipline that stays with one forever and must be practiced on a regular basis. Before Jobs passed away, Google’s Larry Page had a business coaching with him regarding this. During this business coaching, Jobs told him to focus on the long term goal of the company and decide on the direction accordingly. A technical analysis may show the short term profit ventures of the company, but in the long term, we must not be trapped by dogma which is getting affected by what other people think. One must always listen to his/her inner voice and have the courage to go ahead with his/her intuition. Thus, business coaching should no longer be concentrated at an entrepreneurial aspect but should include a spiritual route which emphasized the importance of turning sophisticated things into simple, organized thoughts, using our intuition to its maximum.