At the end of a morning’s fishing along a river which runs into the sea, three fishermen came back from the river banks to join up before going home.
The first fisherman, Joe, complained that he had caught nothing the whole morning.
“What did you use for bait?” asked the second fisherman, Alan.
“The same as always,” said Joe. He looked disappointed that he would return home empty-handed.
“What did you catch?” Joe asked Alan.
Alan opened his bag and showed the two fishermen, Joe, and fishermen number three, Ben, a small fish.
“Hell, that’s so small you could’ve thrown it back,” said Joe.
Ben told the other two fishermen that although he knew the fish was undersize he didn’t want to throw it back because it pained him to go home empty-handed.
“Well, what bait did you use?” Alan asked.
“This one over here,” said Ben. “I borrowed it from a friend who told me it would work.”
The third fisherman, Ben, said nothing.
Alan looked at him. He said, “Well, what about you?”
“I got one,” Ben said.
“Where’s it?” Joe looked to see where Ben had put his fishing bag.
“You really want to see it?”
“Of course, what you think?” said Alan.
Ben led the other two fishermen down to the river. He pulled in his live bait net. Inside was a fish large enough to feed his family that night.
“How did you catch this one?” Alan asked.
“You aren’t going to believe me. I had a dream the night before last about a big orange lure. I made one up yesterday and painted it orange. It worked.”
All the fishermen were really fishing for ideas but each made different choices.
The third fisherman, Ben, listened to his intuition. While others may have dismissed their dream as silly, he acted on it.
We don’t get ideas by doing nothing, using the same old methods or using ideas from others. We have to come up with our own.
The best ideas come from intuition or the unconscious mind. But wait. Before you scoff at this what really is intuition?
Intuition or gut feelings are sometimes called the creative imagination, the super conscious or even flow. We all have it but not all of us are consciously aware of our own internal creative magic.
But how do we tap into this powerful source? We don’t. We have to get away from the hurly-burly of rushed every-day activity to listen to the still voice within to recognise the flow in our lives and allow it to appear as a welcome guest.
Studies show that intuition plays a large role in our lives in solving problems and helping us make decisions where complexity is high and we are overwhelmed by information. We use simple heuristics (or rules of thumb) to make decisions. We let a problem or challenge percolate or simmer in our unconscious mind.
To use our intuition we need to become consciously aware of it rather than go through our lives being unconscious about it. Often, we need to do something counterintuitive to get into harmony with our creative flow. Perhaps we need to go find a quiet place where we can hear the still voice inside. At peace with being alone, left to our own thoughts and emotions we might gain insights or intuitions that seemed to elude us in the maelstrom of life.
Unless we are willing to explore our intuitions we may well end up like many people who have ideas come to them and do nothing about it, only to see someone has already developed and implemented a similar idea in the marketplace.
Finding the right “bait” to catch our best or most promising ideas involves a paradox. Instead of saying when I see it I’ll believe it, we need faith and confidence in our own inner resources to understand that when we believe it, we’ll see it.