Answerlessness

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Context

People are uncomfortable with questions about complex life situations.

A few examples being:

  1. Why does that person behave in such a manner with me?
  2. Why is my competitor’s business doing so well?
  3. Why I keep on getting rejected in interviews?
  4. Who is right: my wife or my mom?
  5. What kind of a person is Kejriwal?

Such questions emanate from life situations that are complex and not easily diagnosable. Such situations confuse the hell out of us.

But, since we get uncomfortable with our answerlessness, we commit one or both of the 2 mistakes below:

  1. We stop raising such questions, and/or
  2. We do raise such questions, but we settle for quick answers

Example of stopping to raise tough questions:

  1. The residents of a new housing society realize that the builder has not given good finishing in the apartments. But they feel that this is such a big problem that they do not know how to get it fixed from the builder. So, they make an easy choice–they refuse to acknowledge that the problem even exists. Denial!

Example of settling for quick answers:

  1. ABC, a competitor of a business XYZ is doing pretty well. XYZ’s promoter is not able to understand why this is the case. So, he settles for a quick explanation that ABC must be playing by using unfair means (e.g. bribing key influencers, not paying taxes, etc.). Jumping to a quick diagnosis!

A personal example:

I used to have reasonably good articulation until 2011. But, after I left professional consulting and started advising entrepreneurs, I started loosing my articulation but started gaining better cognition and judgment.

This was very confusing for me. I was better able to understand complex situations and to develop a futuristic view on them. But I found it difficult to explain my understanding to my clients!

I was not able to find an answer to why this was happening to me! But, after 4 years, the answer started dawning upon me. Below it is:

Until 2011, I was more inclined towards thinking logically (due to my McKinsey experience and Ayn Rand influence). But, around 2011, I became influenced by entrepreneurs and most importantly Steve Jobs. That is when I discovered the power of intuition and also the intuitive person within me. I used to be quite sensitive as a kid, and hence the intuitive side had always been present within me since my childhood. But, I had suppressed it, under the influence of  western logical-thinking paradigm.

Now, as I became more oriented towards intuition, I was able to see more dots and connect them better. my cognition and judgment improved significantly. Only, I did not have the words for my intuition. This explained what my articulation suffered while intuition improved!

Key Insight

Only those who are able to tolerate answerlessness, are better able to understand life and its nuances.

By the way, you can assess your own ability to tolerate answerlessness. Just take out 5 min to introspect and answer this question:

How many unanswered questions/riddles (similar to the questions mentioned above) you have in your mind currently?

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