The Apple brand has provided enough material to fill an entire business school textbook. I’ve loved studying long time Chief Steve Jobs, but now that he has stepped out of the C-suite and into the Chairman’s seat, we are left to look at the mindset of the newly appointed CEO, Tim Cook.
Cook has been with Apple for more than 13 years and most recently served as COO for, arguably, the most powerful brand in the world. There is no doubt he’s drank the Apple kool-aid, but where does he look for inspiration and direction?
Some recent quotes from Cook give us a strong indicator.
"I’ve discovered it’s in facing life’s most important decisions that intuition seems the most indispensable to getting it right."
"Intuition is something that occurs in the moment, and if you are open to it, if you listen to it, it has the potential to direct or redirect you in a way that is best for you."
"In business, as in sports, the vast majority of victories are determined before the beginning of the game. We rarely control the timing of opportunities, but we can control our preparation."
"Intuition is critical in virtually everything you do. But, without relentless preparation and execution, it is meaningless."
As one of my more cynical college professors would say, “What I heard was…blah, blah, intuition, blah, blah, intuition, blah, preparation, intuition, blah, blah, preparation.”
The thing Mr. Cook may or may not realize is that preparation and intuition are actually linked. By preparing properly we strengthen our intuitive abilities. Yes, intuitive abilities. Intuition, like any other mental aspect can be developed and trained.
Intuition does not come from pixie dust, indigestion, or any other coincidental happening. It is developed directly from five of the 7 Elements of Personal Choice; vision, purpose, awareness, gratitude, and forgiveness. By intentionally developing these elements, our subconscious works to bring things to our conscious that we would otherwise miss.
Want to train your intuition? Good, because otherwise all of these notes would go to waste. Here we go.
Develop your vision. The question I begin everyone with is, “What do you want your life to look like?” Answer the questions with as much detail and emotion as you possibly can. Cook mentions the importance of this step too.
"Paint in your mind the most grand vision where you want to go in life. Prepare. Trust in, and execute on your intuition. And don’t get distracted by life’s potholes."
Your vision serves as the destination and helps your subconscious to feed you intuitive nudges that keep you on track for the destination.
Understand your purpose. Knowing where you want to go is vital, but not the only thing needed. Why you are traveling to the destination is vital to a good trip. According to Cook, it’s the trip itself that ultimately matters.
"Let your joy be in your journey, not in some distant goal."
Knowing why, your purpose, gives us indicators as to which way to travel. New York to L.A. is a big trip, but why are you going? If it’s to have a meeting and you need to get there as quick as possible, you’ll choose the fastest path. If it’s to see everything you can in between the two, you’ll choose the most scenic path. Same destination, hugely different trips.
Stay aware. Life happens. Have you noticed? One major key to training our intuition is steadily reminding ourselves of where we are going and why. It’s easy to get distracted and so far off course that the noise of the world drowns out the intuitive.
Another advantage awareness brings is quick action. By keeping our vision and purpose fresh and alive, we can evaluate intuitive urges more quickly and jump with less hesitation. You may actually find opportunities that aren’t in your original vision, but because you are aware, you’ll see that they serve your purpose better. Seize it!
Live in gratitude. One of the biggest killers of intuition and life in general, is how closed off we can be emotionally. No matter how many good things come at us, we can’t accept them because we don’t have any room. Our capacity is limited.
The best way to increase our capacity for more of what we want is to be grateful for what we have. It sounds simplistic, but the truth often is. Do you want more to be grateful for? Then find gratitude for what you have.
Bathe in forgiveness. Cook expresses one of the biggest reasons that most people don’t honor and take advantage of their intuition.
"I know of no one who has achieved something significant without also in their own lives experiencing their share of hardship, frustration and regret. So, don’t believe that something in your past prevents you from doing great work in the future."
Your past is done…can’t touch it. If you’ve failed, fallen short, or completely screwed up in the past, your job is to pull the lesson and forgive yourself. If someone else has been a wet-blanket to your fire, forgive them and move on. There are thousands of stories about conquering past adversity. You can be one of the stories people tell or one of the people others tell those stories to. Your choice.
Late addition. I’m going to throw in a sixth element as well. Action! When you train your intuition and it gives you an amazing insight, reward it with action. Do the work! Great insights and opportunities that aren’t acted upon become regret and tragedy.
“For all of us [at Apple], intuition is not a substitute for rigorous thinking and hard work, it is simply the lead-in. We never take shortcuts. We attend to every detail. We follow where curiosity leads.”
It seems that Apple is in good hands and I hope the idea of intuition gives you a boost toward making more of your every day. Life is calling you to adventure… pack every tool you have and go see what’s waiting.
PJ McClure is an internationally respected expert who helps business owners and executives destroy roadblocks and seize opportunities to achieve their ideal vision of success. He is an award-winning speaker and the best-selling author of Flip the SWITCH: How to Turn On and Turn Up Your Mindset. You can download Flip the SWITCH for free by clicking here!