I’ll never forget the first time I saw Scar from The Lion King. He crept out of his cave, one furry paw after the next. His sharp, cruel nails pricked the solid ground. The camera panned up, past his bushy, black mane, and I spotted that thin slice across his eye. His top lip slowly rose, revealing a sharp tooth, and his mouth grinned creepily up one side of his face. My body winced a little.
As children, something just told us immediately that all Disney villains, like Scar, were bad, bad news. Right away. Maybe it was the black in their hair, the red in their eyes, or the smirks on their faces. Or maybe it was something else. We’ve found that one of the best things about reading great business books is that they always seem to teach so much more than just business.
In his novel Blink, Malcolm Gladwell explains that our brains function like our own personal, internal “computer processing unit.” Our “CPU” is always working, taking more information than we can fathom and processing it all at once so we can make good decisions in the, well, blink of an eye.
He explains how art experts can spot frauds with just a glance, how emergency room doctors can diagnose patients on the fly, and how humans can spot the loves of their lives on speed dates – and all without the convenience of carbon-dated lab samples, family medical histories, or personal dating biographies. Gladwell suggests that the more information we have, and the longer we spend agonizing over a decision, the less likely it is that we’ll get it right. And although our instant “CPUs” can be wrong, most of the time, Gladwell concludes, they’re right. We just have to trust them.
For so long, we’ve been slow decision makers. Deliberative people. We weigh every option and then choose the right course of action. After reading Blink, we’re convinced that there’s something to it, and we’re committing ourselves to trusting our instincts more in our business and listening to that voice in our head at home. If we do, odds are we’ll be more productive, and more successful, too.
Plus, whenever we need to sharpen that skill and refresh our own “CPUs”, there’ll be a shelf of Disney movies waiting for us. And what could be better than that?
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