Borrow this book if you have to!
Borrow the information inside of the book if you are smart!
And make it yours if you are wise!
Part One: What’s Stopping You?
Bernadette Jiwa begins her book, Hunch, with a quote from Anne Lamott where she says, “You get your intuition back when you make space for it”. Today we are surrounded by data that is supposed to make us smarter, but is it? It certainly doesn’t look like it’s making us wiser…You see we know a lot more than we think we know and data is only telling us part of the story and has the tendency to dampen our inherent and vital curiosity. You see, data and our human need for certainty is keeping us from developing our emotional intelligence and cultivating an imagination that could change this world for the better.
You see, here’s the deal. We actually know more than we think we know. However our feelings of a lack of certainty, even though we can never be 100% certain about anything, is keeping us from acting. We just don’t like to ‘not know’. We don’t want to hear that sometimes the questions are even more important than the answers.
According to Jiwa, scientific discoveries happen not through method or magic, but from being open to discovery by listening to one’s emotions and responding to intuition. Like a poet, the researcher, as well as the therapist, needs the ability to imagine what the truth might be. We need to let go of the need to have answers in order to be able to come up with the right questions.
The ever-more important innovation is more complex than the simple ‘Aha’! Innovations come from prolonged practice of being curious, empathetic and imaginative. Too many of us are relying on IQ scores and the retention of knowledge. Too many of us also rely on ideas. However, ideas are nothing if they’re not adopted and used. Sometimes the big ideas don’t go anywhere right alongside all that knowledge. And sometimes the next big thing isn’t something that anyone, at its genesis, would have believed would have been the billion-dollar idea.
Common big, but often false ideas, are often based on technology. However, sadly, technology is often hijacking our minds. Thus, we are noticing less and less and are missing more and more in our ever-increasing technological world. Frequently, we’re throwing away opportunities to think and reflect- to be the kind of person that actually can make things better for ourselves and everyone else in our circles as well.
Too often, distraction is the enemy of insight. Some research suggest that people are checking their phone up to 150 times a day. Often, we feel that we are close to something big and important, but yet, we still don’t make the space to do what it takes to immerse ourselves waist high and elbow deep in the things that cultivate our curiosity and imagination.
The truth is that we can do good work when we create an environment that allows us to do so. However, we have to change some of our behaviors and have a mind-shift that changes our priorities to things that matter and deserve our time. If we want to do something big, then we need to stop wasting our time on things that just aren’t that important.
Part Two: From Everyday Insights to Groundbreaking Ideas
We used to trust our intuition to make important decisions in our lives. And to tell you the truth, some of us still do trust our intuition to makes important decisions, even in the business world. However, somehow it has become unfashionable to admit this, especially in the business world according to Jiwa.
Just like our ancestors looked for subtle changes to inform their intuition in life and death situations, we too still partake in that kind of behavior in this modern world. We still look for, although, not always aware of it at the moment, but we’re still looking for subtle changes in our environment to help us make better decisions. It just so happens that most of these decisions are no longer life or death decisions. But don’t be fooled. This innate human ability to make those decision based on intuition is still there.
Our intuition can help us not just get from point A to point B in a new way, but actually envision an entirely new point A and point B. It opens the door to us redefining where the problems end and the solutions begin. It helps us make new connections and forge different paths. And this is a good thing, because as humans we tend to see what we’re looking for. And through persistent effort we can improve our abilities to move from everyday insights to groundbreaking ideas. We all can choose to amplify these special human abilities or ignore them.
You see, we all can be blinded by what we think we know and ignore all those beautiful little opportunities that are sitting right in front of us every day. And believe me, this does happen every day. People miss the obvious all the time because of what they think they know, and the inability to make the leap to what they might not know. Furthermore, sometimes being a big Fortune 500 Company, Ivy League educated, or having a big important name enslaves us to what we think we know, while the house wife or some guy in a garage is coming up with the next big thing.
In the changing world of business and work, the skills that are becoming most prevalent are the same ones that make us better rounded, creative, collaborative, generous, and intuitive. With this in mind, it would be wise to develop these qualities in ourselves so that we can contribute to society and make a difference in both our own personal world and the larger world.
Part Three: The Who, the What and the How
This section of, Hunch by Bernadette Jiwa describes the stories of the people whose everyday insights informed the hunches that they later developed into breakthrough ideas. You see, our world has always been shaped by the most curious people who inhabit it. Academy-Award winning filmmaker James Cameron once said, “Curiosity is the most powerful thing you own.” Thus, it would only make sense for us all to do everything in our power to develop it.
Into the picture comes Carol Jones and Victor Pleshev with their ironing board cover in Australia. In a declining market where fewer couples are getting married, and fewer woman are taking the responsibility of all the domestic chores, Carol and Victor heard “NO!” over and over again in promoting their ironing board cover, However, their niche market of men who value their time and want ironing to be easier and quicker have become their ever-growing market in their little corner of the world.
Next, in an English market town, Moyez solved the problem of low staff morale, overbooked doctors and slow patient response time by coming up with telephone triage. Who would have thought that just talking to some patients on the phone was enough for many patients? Through a simple little phone call the trained and qualified doctor could decide who has to come in and who doesn’t.
Finally, Debbie Sterling from a small town in Rhode Island wanted to figure a way to get more girls interested in engineering. Her interest in engineering had been sparked by playing with her older brothers’ construction toys when she was a little girl. However, she knew the common little girl would quickly become bored if they were asked to play with their brother’s construction toys. So, she created a story about a girl engineer named GoldieBlox who went on adventures and solved problems by building simple machines. Through this she combined girls’ natural love of literature and stories with a construction and engineering theme. In 2014 GoldieBlox has won the People’s Choice Toy of the Year Award.
The rest of Jiwa’s book, Hunch, shares more stories on people that have been innovative by using their imagination to solve problems. They were curious and wanted to find a better way. Jiwa also goes into little exercises that help us find our own imagination and curiosity while practicing how to be more innovative ourselves.
In the end, it’s very important how we choose to pay attention to influences, what we imagine, and the things we have the foresight to create and ultimately who we become. What truly deserves to occupy the moments that will go from making up our minutes to influencing the impact of we make and the legacy we leave. Jiwa’s book was a quick easy read, I suggest you pick it up and give it a good go-through. You won’t be sorry.
Award-winning author, speaker, and educator
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