We can’t retrofit intuition.
It certainly makes for a romantic and compelling story, telling people that we knew it all along and had no doubt from day one that our business, project or relationship was something that we just felt in our gut and followed and everything worked out.
But the reality is, in the bewildering chaos of human experience, most of us are shitty predictors of pretty much anything. We’re all just guessing.
Think back to your first love or your first job.
Did that journey rarely wrap itself in a nice, clean, tight, dramatic narrative arc? Were your intuitions spot on all along? Or were your precious little predictions cock blocked by mystery known as life?
Probably the latter. Because it’s all a risk. A gamble. A bet with unknown odds.
Look, I believe intuition is a very real and reliable source of insight. I believe each of us has a tremendous range of intuitive powers that are potentially available. And I believe that training ourselves to take action on our intuitive leads is a worthwhile endeavor.
But looking back on our lives and pretending that our origin story had some grandiose slow clap crescendo and worked out according to plan, probably isn’t serving us.
Watterson made this point in his famous comic strip:
History is the fiction we invent to persuade ourselves that events are knowable and that life has order and direction. That’s why events are always reinterpreted when values change. We need new versions of history to allow for our current prejudices.
Besides, part of the joy of life is in not being able to control or predict every circumstance we will meet. Leaning into the risk of accidentally embracing something that would make things turn out the way they shouldn’t.
Accepting more experiences as mysteries that don’t conveniently fit into any specific categories. Not looking back to retrofit intuition, as if we had a copy of the blueprints all along.
It makes me think of a brilliant monologue from my favorite comedy. Cusack reveals:
I’ve been thinking with my guts since I was fourteen years old, and frankly speaking, between you and me, I have come to the conclusion that my guts have shit for brains.
And so, trust your intuition, but make sure it doesn’t keep you locked up in your small little room, nose against the exit, afraid to try turning the knob.
LET ME ASK YA THIS...
Are you trying to predict the future or invent it?
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That Guy with the Nametag
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