The Only Real Valuable Thing Is Intuition
(Originally posted Jan, 2021 on vocal.media)
You have to love those clickbait headlines. The kinds that leverage our insatiable need to quell the angst of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) with our succumbing to grind culture’s maxim of saving time to do more. Although, to be fair, I really am super curious about the single decision that ended the trajectory of Julia Stiles’ brilliant career. And confession time: after months of wondering, I finally found out how one injury dashed the Olympic dreams of an extremely attractive pole vaulter. We men can be such predictably sexist neanderthals.
These articles prey on something much deeper as well: a sense of unworthiness that many of us can’t quite seem to shake. While the overt message is about harnessing productivity, the subtext is less clear: you should be doing this better and quicker so you can do more because you’re clearly not doing enough and if you did more people would love you more. If this doesn’t apply to you, congratulations and thanks for reading this far. But if there’s anything I know to be true, is that if I’m feeling it, I’m not the only one.
There’s still a lot of shame around unworthiness. Toxic masculinity bears some responsibility for that. The double-standards placed on women and minorities play a part too. So does the flawed American rhetoric that we are the greatest country in the world where anyone can be anything, thus implying that if we’re not there’s clearly something wrong with us. We hear these messages every single day and the weight of them presses us into submission.
The pandemic didn’t help either. The pressure to produce picture-perfect sourdough rolls was immense. Was it just me, or was I being bullied into baking? I eventually caved, but the best I could do was a few batches of misshapen corn cookies from a Trader Joe’s mix. So many people were boasting about learning to play new instruments, and speaking new languages. It wasn't that long before the “These reminders don’t seem to be working” notifications from Duilingo stopped showing up altogether. And I may or may not have touched the keys of that free upright piano I had hauled up to my apartment since September. Go big or go home right?
The ridiculous thing was, I didn’t lose my job because of the pandemic. I actually had more to do when I started working from home. Why did I think I had more time on my hands to become fluent in Portuguese? Side note: my intentions were noble given my brother and his family live in Brazil and I always felt it would be a nice gesture to learn the language of my new in-laws, but after 14 years they’re no longer new and unless I need water, a house, or an apple, I’m shit out of luck. Compared to others, with the possible exception of my prodigious Netflix viewing (where’s the body Carole?), I felt I was a failure at even the basics of surviving the pandemic. Grind culture, comparison, and shame turned the subtle currents of unworthiness into a monsoon from which there seemed to be no safe harbor.
But every hurricane has an eye; the calm center that provides respite from the torrential rain and unforgiving winds. For those of us struggling with unworthiness, it is that still small voice of intuition. The gentle whisper that says, “this is not for me” or “my bliss lies elsewhere” or “now is the time” or “I am more than this.” Intuition goes by many names: the voice of God; the song of the ancestors; the whispers of angels; the stirring in our gut; the metaphors of our dreams. Regardless of the name we give it, we all possess it, but we don’t all give it the attention it deserves.
Not to get too woo-woo here, but intuition is the connectedness we feel to all things across time and space. I’m not just spewing metaphysical mumbo-jumbo. There are more than enough quantum physics theories and proofs to substantiate our paradoxical beyond-time-cause-and-effect-cosmic-yet-molecular existence that our feeble intellect has yet to fully grasp. None other than Albert Einstein validated this when he said, “The only real valuable thing is intuition.” When we are open to the possibilities that come with being in tune with it, we know, not think, what we need to do and when we need to do it.
Intuition might be the only life hack we really need. It guides us to our purpose and our bliss. It lets us know when to act and when to rest. It brings peace through authenticity. It asks nothing of us but a willingness to listen. It is the beginning of the end of self-doubt and unworthiness. If you’re going to use all those other life hacks, use them to carve out more space and time to practice listening to your intuition. It is your truest voice.
Now… time to go write my next article: You Won’t Believe What I’m Not Doing In 2021!