As human beings, we are all interconnected in this world that is known as a global village in the 21st century. As the world is continuously evolving, the number of options we have in life has gone from a few to gazillions. So as individuals, we aspire and listen to what our hearts say along with the logical reasoning of our minds regarding everything that matters to us. But since we are interconnected, people are bound to affect us in one way or another.
If we take a look at the life of Steve Jobs we can understand the context of what he said in a better way. Jobs, adopted, developed an extreme liking for machines as he spent time working in the garage with his father, a machinist. Later in life, he made friends with Steve Wozniak with whom he shared the same interests. Time went by and Jobs dropped out of high school as the formal education seemed unnecessary to him. He ended up founding what we know as the turning point of technology, the revolution in microcomputers, Apple Inc; with its co-founder Steve Wozniak. Apart from this, he also became the CEO and the majority shareholder of the Pixar Animation Studios by investing $50 million of his own money; and also founded NeXT, Inc.
What can be seen from the life of Jobs is that he chose the path of his interest, even if it was unknown and risky. He dropped out of high school decidedly and was ready to face its consequences. He had the courage to trust and follow his inner voice that went against his rational and logical thinking. He again trusted his gut and invested a huge amount of money. Therefore, things too worked out in his favour. But this may not be the case for everyone.
In 2014, the University of Chicago Press published a research in the Journal of Consumer Research, Inc. Following a series of experiments the research concluded that when people don’t have a strong opinion about something, they simply mimic the people around them; known as the “social default.” The research showed the human nature of ‘copying’ when their individual opinions weren’t strong enough. Which means that human beings have an influence on other peoples’ opinions when they lack the ability to have a strong, decisive opinion about something. Unlike Jobs, a person may not yet know where his interest lies and therefore chooses what others decide for him. Or he may have the element of doubt which result in his inner voice drowning in the noise of others’ opinions. For example, in the case of teenagers choosing a career path.
In the Pakistani society, the basic career options parents choose for their children include medicine, law and engineering. The other fields such as art and literature hold little or no value in the society. Now a child may have a keen interest in let’s say, history but due to being scared about what people have to say about it, he chooses what his parents think is right for him even if he doesn’t really feel the passion for what they choose.
Take the case of ‘child x.’ Child x wants to opt for something that has little scope in Pakistan but for which he holds great drive and interest. The parents of child x oppose his decision. The reason for the parents’ opposition is that the lack of scope will result in unemployment in the future due to a few number or lack of jobs available in the country. Their intentions are not to sabotage the happiness of child x but to ensure his financial security in the future.
From the point of view of child x, even though his interests lie somewhere else and his intuition tells him to go with it, rational thinking still plays a crucial role in decision making. Intuition which is described as a gut feeling may or may not be true. Relying on the gut by ignoring the reality of life can prove harmful in the long run.
Moreover, the ability to develop courage for the unknown is a difficult art. Intuition often fails to work in front of strong rationality and logic. The fear of the unknown is what causes people to take logical steps instead of steps based on one’s inner voice. In the case of Steve Jobs, things worked out in his favour. But that may not be the case with everyone as according to research it has been shown that only a few are lucky in establishing careers worth millions based on inner voice. The same could be said not only for careers but for every important decision made in life.
But on the other hand, throughout history people who gained immense success ascribe their success to having followed their intuition. Along with Steve Jobs people who accredit their intuition for their success includes Mark Zuckerberg, Oprah Winfrey and many others. Now, intuition – which is known as a gut feeling of an individual; an inner voice that guides alongside the hardest of circumstances and situations, cannot be proven scientifically until scientists gain quantifiable evidence for its existence.
The research was published by the University of New South Wales, in Psychological Science, where the research team demonstrated how much intuition could improve decision-making abilities. The research data suggested that the unconscious information produced in our brain or body could result in better life decisions.
Apart from this, other studies have demonstrated that when it comes to other major life decisions apart from choosing career options such as decisions in choosing who to marry, which college to choose, which house and what car to buy, trusting the inner voice and following one’s intuition has led to better outcomes as compared to trusting your logical, decisive brain.
To conclude, there has always been a conflict between following intuition vs opting for rationality. The only thing that can determine the choice between the two is the circumstances being faced by the person. Not everything in life can be planned but the things that can be decided should be based upon what one can endure.