In every field of endeavor, there are innovators who naturally seem to pioneer new ways of doing things. There are individuals who are known for their endless creativity. They are often also people who, over and over, seem to be in the right place at the right time to make the right connections to do great things. The rest of humanity struggles, but these golden individuals, as if touched by the divine, seem to flourish effortlessly.
There are two things to say about such people. One is that their trajectory of success isn't typically as smooth or as easy as it seems. Such people tend to work very hard. And they long have. Because of that, they've attained a level of mastery in their field that's unusual. And this allows their work to have exceptional results. Like the metaphorical swan, all still and serene above water, they can seem to be at ease, but their hard paddling below the surface is what gets them across the lake.
And yet, there is a second thing to say, even more important than this.
These people tend to be highly intuitive. They don't just depend on normal "rational" thinking. And they don't feel a pressure to do everything the way everyone else does it. They listen to their heart, or maybe it's something beyond their heart.
The ancient Greeks talked of a spirit or muse. The Romans spoke of a guiding genius, not in you, but outside you, that's available to help you. However we conceptualize it, there seems to be an avenue of knowing and doing that's in some sense spiritual in nature. Accessing it requires us to get beyond our normal thought world, to reduce our mental chatter and clear out the clutter that otherwise blocks us from something deeper, and open ourselves to this powerful guidance. Sometimes it happens in extreme circumstances, during times of great danger. A switch flips. A strong clarity arises. And we're transported to a new level of being, feeling, thinking, and doing. It more often happens when there is preternatural calm within, a quietness and emptiness that allows itself to be filled. A supreme focus can facilitate it. A great relaxation of the body, or a repetitive engagement of it, as in walking, or jogging, can at times create just the right soil, fertile for new ideas to be noticed and planted and to grow.
In a small meeting room yesterday at the large pharmaceutical development company PPD, I talked about how I have discovered my own best intuitive work. I told my story of unexpectedly coming to write eight novels in a period of four years, after forty years of authoring nonfiction philosophy books. In this unexpected adventure of becoming a novelist, I've learned how to relax my body in order to disengage the normal flow of my conscious mind. And this is when the magic can happen. I think we all have that ability. And we can use it in whatever we do. Why don't we do so more?
My new book, The Oasis Within, begins the epic story whose main characters have taught me almost all I know about becoming more intuitive. I hope you'll also have a chance to learn from them as I have, and that it will have as big and deep an impact for you as it has had for me.