As entrepreneurs, it’s one of our primary tasks to make informed decisions. But we all know that information alone is not sufficient to trigger change and success. It needs guts and intuition. It needs a connection with inner knowledge. But how do we access it?
Geniuses and paradigm shifting entrepreneurs are very tapped into their inner knowledge. They know what they are about, they know why they are in the game and how they are bringing it into the world, automatically and effortlessly. They don’t have the time nor the desire to evaluate, compare and worry each time a decision needs to be taken. They limit the involvement of the conscious mind to the acquisition of facts, to bridge data gaps, but they rely on inner guidance from the automatic system that always knows.
As leaders and owners of organizations we need to do the same thing, to find automatic guidance inside ourselves by nurturing a system that knows the essentials and only resorting to outside information to react and adapt to circumstances in the smaller picture. That way, our decisions become informed by a deep sense of knowing with a sprinkle of learning.
Interestingly, our brain is equipped with two faculties that reflect this principle:
The conscious one is the learning machine. It ingests outside information, compares, analyzes and scrutinizes. It works hard when we learn and it is good at making sense of the world and comparing ourselves to others. But because it is wired to our senses, it is nothing without outside stimulation, and it is comparable to an old computer in its performance. It burns up tons of energy and slows us down.
In Western Culture, this faculty of the brain is what most education and businesses are built around. This reduces organizations and their people to slow, big number crunching machines applying principles they learned. This is why we feel worn out when we run too long just relying on this system. But it’s an every day fact for most of us working a job or running a company.
Enter the other system: a fascinating, super high-speed performer and the home to what we call “gut feeling” or “intuition.” This system does not learn, but it knows. It runs without our direct interference in total clarity. It stores important data that was passed on by the other system (this is why you can’t unlearn riding a bike). This is also the place where our purpose lives, the expression of what we care and are about, what makes us happy and confident and how we want to impact ourselves and others.
Anyone tapping into their potential and acting with confidence prioritizes the second system as guide. Zen masters spend a lifetime looking inside, nurturing introspection and doing only little outside missionary work. What they read serves the inner workings and to gain a better understanding of it.
What does this mean for those of us running a business?
We need to acknowledge the power of our inner mind and understand the data of what drives us, what makes us happy, what makes us confident in our daily work. Once we are completely clear on this and willing to give in to it, we have a bedrock upon which we can build anything and make decisions with ultimate focus. Our slow conscious mind only needs to fill in the gaps. We will gain speed, energy, determination and feel confident about ourselves because our actions came from a place of knowing rather than a place of finding out.