Have you heard of Gottman?
Gottman, as in John Gottman.
What if I told you he was the is the co-founder and co-director of the Gottman Institute? Nope, doesn't ring a bell? Well that's interesting, because Gottman's research is all about ringing bells. Or intuition, as we call it.
And Gottman is a good example of um, intuition
Most of us are foxed by intuition. How is it possible that one person is able to know something that we just can't see? How is it that someone is able to feel, or smell, or hear, or sense something weird in the mix, when it's appearing all rosy to us? Amazing as it may seem, it's the data that's the problem.
You see Gottman was able to see through the data and predict “divorce rates”
So if you got a bunch of couples in a room, and Gottman video tapes couples interacting with each other. And couples go through a lot of stuff when they're interacting.
They smile. They touch. They laugh. They argue. They nit pick. That's a heck of a lot of data to process. What's interesting is that Gottman could do what hundreds of marriage therapists, counsellors, pastoral advisers and students couldn't do—even if they watched the tapes for hours on end.
Not one of them could predict as accurately as Gottman could.
Gottman could predict which couples were headed for divorce
And he could do so with blinding accuracy. The group of therapists, counsellors etc, could only predict the divorce possibility 53.8% of the time. Gottman says he can sit at a restaurant and eavesdrop on a conversation, and accurately predict which marriage was headed to “rocksville”.
So is Gottman intuitive?
Not really. What he's able to do is “thin slice”. Data itself is a whole load of crappy stuff. What's important is knowing the one factor to look for every single time. That one factor reveals itself in a matter of minutes, even seconds. And then it's easy. What seems like magic or intuition to you is merely an understanding of what to look for.
It's a bit like driving your car
If you looked down at your car dashboard and said “Shucks, I need to fill fuel quickly” and then the car stopped a few miles later, you wouldn't be considered a savant or really intuitive, would you? You'd be considered stupid. You saw the fuel gauge. It read “empty” and heck, there was even this bright warning light.
That warning light is what we call intuition
When you're able to see the ‘thin slice', you're able to know what happens next. Like I have a super power (ok, let's call it intuition or whatever): I can tell you when an article is going down the drain. I can tell you in a matter of seconds. I don't even need to look at your article. I can tell you by looking at your outline. Just do five-six points in your outline and I can tell.
I can also tell if a student will become a great article writer.
I don't care what language they speak, or their background, or their culture or even if they can write (yes, illiterate is just fine). I can tell you if they will become great communicators within a week or two of them joining the article-writing course.
So am I intuitive?
No I'm not. I'm thin-slicing. I can look at one factor, and tell in a second that things are going wrong. Or going right. Just like you can with the fuel gauge. Just like Gottman can tell with his potential divorcees.
So how do you develop this intuition?
You first stop considering intuition to be magical. It's not magical. It's simply an isolation of facts. Some people are able to do it with article outlines. Some are able to do it by smelling the air. Others are able to tell if things will go wrong by reading a rose (yes, they're reading your energy from across the world). It may sound all fa-la-la to you, and you may think it's all cuckoo stuff, but it's not. It's sheer isolation of facts.
And like a fuel gauge, if you're shown what to look for, you see it everywhere.
Like for instance in The Brain Audit we show why customers buy and why they don't. And while there are seven reasons outlined in the book, the whole book is useless without you isolating (and understanding) the concept of “Target Profile”. Get that wrong and the entire book can take you down the wrong path. Get it right, and you're suddenly intuitive.
To develop intuition you must seek great teachers
A teacher isn't someone who gives you a ‘cheat list' and tells you to just do it. A teacher is someone who knows about thin slicing. Who knows what can make you fail. Or succeed. When you learn from great teachers, you too learn to identify, isolate and then apply the very same skills.
You become like Gottman.
Gottman, the cofounder and co-director of the Gottman Institute.
Gottman: The guy who can predict divorces over dinner tables.
Footnote: If you want to read more about the concept of thin-slicing, get your hands on “Blink” by Malcolm Gladwell. Yes, I know it's not a new book, but at least you'll understand the concept a whole lot better. I got to know about Gottman through Gladwell. And yes, if you want know more about “Target Profiles”, read The Brain Audit. Not a new book either.
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Regarding the article writing capability. Can you just project who will be able to write effectively…or can you successfully assist that failing person to turn around and become an effective writer
Michael Cavanaugh says
Thanks for writing (and sending) yet another great newsletter. While I enjoy Malcolm Gladwell’s books as well, you should really for to the source to learn more about John Gottman. Try any of his books on Amazon, especially his first one that explains the theory and practice behind his research, “Why Marriages Succeed or Fail: And How You Can Make Yours Last.”
Have a great day,
Joshua Black | The Underdog Millionaire says
Too often in small business, people are not using the power of their intuition. They just end up driving until they run out of gas and then blame the vehicle.
Most of us know if something is not quite right. We are naturally wired with “gut logic.”
What really separates the men from the boys so-to-speak is the ability to stop yourself from doing something that you KNOW is not in your best interests. That can be the most difficult part of running a business (and the rest of life as well).
The Underdog Millionaire
Sean D'Souza says
Bryan: In my opinion there is no such thing as a born writer. Some of us pick up skills along the way, and some pick up more skills than others. The way I work out who’s going to be a good writer or not, is how carefully they follow instructions. The ones that do (and this could truly be anyone at all) become good writers.
It’s just that simple.
Paul Kotta says
Just one thing — it must be maddeningly frustrating for readers who hadn’t heard what Gottman “thin slice” factor was for predicting divorce: It was eye-rolling.
He found that if, during a marriage counseling session, one person rolled his or her eyes at something the other person was saying, there was a more than 90 percent chance they would divorce within a year.
Or something like that.
Anyway, thanks for your great articles. Now to discover my own site’s Gottman factor. Which I hope isn’t eye-rolling…