As days pass, filled with unending meetings, telephone calls, and presentations, it is natural to reflect on the interactions as they unfold. What did I hear, explicitly? What were the non-verbal messages? What was the intent of the message?
Often, the process is more are than precision. As I reflect on yesterday, several key phone calls, critical emails, conversations with different individuals, a major presentation, and dinner, I find myself relying on intuition. It is not that there is an absence of facts. I have so much data and pieces of information that I do not know where to begin.
Part of the problem lies within me. The framework that I look through to see the events is confusing. The bias I read into each interaction is unclear. I am processing what I had experiences through a series of filters that I do not understand.
One might conclude that this is unusual and a problem. I find myself looking at the situation quite differently. I did not appreciate the difference until I was reading an old story of a group of men at sea. The historian notes how “on the fourteenth night, adrift somewhere on the Adriatic Sea, at about midnight the sailors sensed that we were approaching land.” (Acts 27.27) There were no confirmed facts, but there was a consensus around what they collectively sensed.
Our senses understand more than we realize. Our mind is listening, even if we do not know what we know. Sailors learn to trust their minds. They rarely follow blindly. They act and verify.
Sailors also look to have a consensus when making decisions. If the captain is certain, individuals will act. If not, they will look to those around them that have demonstrated the ability to see and hear in the past. Whatever decisions are taken impact the rest of the community – for good and worse in equal measure.
I can use my intuition to explore the uncertain. I can connect with others are draw on their insight and wisdom. There is more in the moment at hand.