I am not trying to paraphrase Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. when he famously said, “I have a dream.” I had a dream that came to me while sleeping, a dream that rocked me to my core.
“Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:1-5
That is the subject of today’s 10-minute episode.
The meaningful part of my dream starts with me sitting on the ground outside of a church resting against a pillar. I wasn’t thinking about much of anything when a pleasant looking man, about 35 or so, walks up and asks, “Do you mind if I sit with you?” “No” I replied, moving around on the pillar a bit to make room. As we start talking about this and that, the opening chit chat that starts many conversations with friendly strangers, I notice that he is more than pleasant. Even though he is looking away as we spoke, there is something like a glow that seems to fill his personal space and the space around him. We must have gotten to the part where we started talking about our professions, because I remember telling him that I was a podcaster, and that I was involved in the technical aspects of selecting and working to understand new software, and the intellectual aspects of working harder and smarter to understand the political and financial world around me, and to improve my skills, hone my craft, when it came to expressing the truth in a memorable and persuasive way. That caused him to look my way with the beginnings of a smile on his face. But the glow increased, and increased far more than a slight smile might explain. In the moment that I was talking to him about my intellectual pursuits to strengthen the quality and influence of my podcasts, I stopped and surprised myself by saying, “I have the wrong main focus, instead of my priority being getting better intellectually, I need to be a better person, a better Christian, and make that the focus of my podcasting ambitions.” He looked away, with the glow again increasing in intensity, and said, “There’s another one the devil will not get.” I surprised myself again when I said, “I cannot be a good Christian with intellectual pursuits as my main focus.
He turned to look directly at me, seeming to penetrate me with his eyes, with the glow increasing in intensity yet again, a glow that was at once joyful and comforting. With his face a foot or so from mine. With warmth, intensity and expectation he asked, “Do you know why?” “Yes” I said, finding the words as I spoke them, “Because if I focus on my mind, my intellect, I can never come to Him as a child, as He has said I must. He seemed to come closer, his smile increasing as the glow grew and filled the entire world of my dream, suffusing every cubic inch, every molecule, with warmth and light.
And the dream ended, right then and there. He did not have any final words, but I could see that he was well pleased with my answer. And a new focus for my life, including my professional life as a podcaster, began.
None of this should be taken to mean that I place little value on intellectual pursuits, in my life overall, and with Revolution 2.0™ in particular. Head and heart are both vital, in the same way that an intensive search for facts and listening to your gut are both valuable. Intellect and instinct. How do you balance the two? Well 75%/75% seems about right. (Those of you who follow Revolution 2.0 know that I do not see the world as needing to add up to 100% all of the time.) Depending on what you are thinking about, and where you are in the process, one or the other may appropriately be emphasized, but you put yourself at risk if you do not give full attention to both before coming to a decision and taking action.
Many religions appeal to both the head and the heart. Christian teaching has it that Christ sent the Holy Spirit to inspire us, teach, comfort, and guide; the heart part. The Bible works on us through our heads; the Holy Spirit works on us through our gut. Was my dream the Holy Spirit working on me? I will leave it to you to answer that question. My position is that I need to follow both my gut and my head in life and in my profession as a podcaster.
Everyone from fictional characters like Sherlock Holmes to successful scientists sometimes rely on their gut instincts to solve problems and to get results. Here is a quote from Carol Kinsey Gorman writing about intuition in business. “Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, and Conrad Hilton are famous examples of executives who relied heavily on intuitive business decisions. A story about Conrad Hilton highlights the value of what was referred to as ‘one of Connie’s hunches.’ There was to be a sealed bid on a New York property. Hilton evaluated its worth at $159,000 and prepared a bid in that amount. He slept that night and upon awakening, the figure $174,000 stood out in his mind. He changed the bid and submitted the higher figure. It won. The next highest bid was $173,000. He subsequently sold the property for several million dollars.”
And, “At the New Jersey Institute of Technology, Douglas Dean studied the relationship between intuition and business success. He found that 80 percent of executives whose companies’ profits had more than doubled in the past five years had above average precognitive powers. Management professor Weston Agor of the University of Texas in El Paso found that of the 2,000 managers he tested, higher-level managers had the top scores in intuition. Most of these executives first digested all the relevant information and data available, but when the data were conflicting or incomplete, they relied on intuitive approaches to come to a conclusion.”
I do not believe for a second that having the right intuition or gut instinct is a matter of luck. It is a matter of listening. Intuition and gut instinct can be as reliable as hard data and rigorous analysis if we will take it seriously and listen. Rigorous analysis without listening to your gut can be dry and brittle, and put you on a suboptimal or simply the wrong path. Listening only to your gut can have you orbiting Pluto, shouting things like, “But I believed!”
I am going to honor my dream by allowing the Holy Spirit, a key part of my moral compass, to guide me in life and with Revolution 2.0. The Holy Spirit, working through my gut, will lead my intellectual process. As any moral compass should. What is your moral compass? And are you allowing it to lead?
Tell me what you believe. I and many others want to know.
As always, whatever you do, do it in love. Without love, anything we do is empty.
As we get ready to wrap up, please do respond in the episodes with comments or questions about this episode or anything that comes to mind, or connect with me on Twitter, @willluden, Facebook, facebook.com/will.luden, and LinkedIn, www.linkedin.com/in/willluden/. And you can subscribe on your favorite device through Apple, Google, or Stitcher.
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Will Luden, coming to you from 7,200’ in Colorado Springs.