When life gives you lemons, make lemonade
– Elbert Hubbard
One of my mentors: Eben Pagan once spoke about counterintuition. It was a very interesting topic. He was talking about how counterintuitive actions or responses can totally change a situation or perception of others towards you.
I once read a story about Obama and how he responds to crisis. I can’t remember the specifics, but there’s this meeting and everyone’s pretty worked up arguing for and against a particular idea. Our storyteller said he looked over at Obama and saw him calm and in deep thought, and he said he was glad that Obama was the one who would make the final decision.
I just went through a bit of a crisis right now myself. I almost went with the intuitive response for a few milliseconds. This is a mundane example though; so I was about to write this blog post. I texted my girlfriend: “Thank you my love, I guess you’ve gone back to bed, am writing another blog post” and she replied: “alright dear, divine inspiration is ur lot”. So I opened up my browser and the internet connection was poor, real poor, I couldn’t access my blog or get any info online which I like to do when writing. It’s already 5:20 in the morning, I had quite a number of other things to do and this was holding up my routine; talk about stumbling blocks. I was already closing my laptop, and about to text bae when a thought hit me. “Gbolade, this is the normal and intuitive thing to do, but not the best”. So I dropped the phone, and opened up Evernote, and typed away.
Counterintuitive responses are critical in business and daily life too. They usually require some amount of thought and willpower, sometimes they are not even responses at all but actions you initiate. I’ve discovered that the best way to change a situation, character, thought pattern, or occurrence is to change your default response or approach to it. I noticed that nothing just happens:
- There are always chains of thoughts or actions that lead to a major occurrence.
- There is always an impression upon your mind about the next stream of thoughts or actions, and there’s a small gap for decision making between occurrence and response.
For example, I was talking to a difficult client who was obviously trying to get me worked up, and I just kept smiling and responding respectfully, then he asked me “should I continue taunting you?” and I replied “please do, it’s as much fun to me as it is to you”. He burst out laughing and that was the last time he ever did that.