It struck me when I was watching Brian Eno’s talk at PopTech 2006*. He started with pointing out that the concept of evolution is so counter-intuitive that it is very hard for anybody to grasp it.
The concept of evolution shows that complexity and intelligence grows from simplicity rather than from greater complexity. This idea is indeed very counter-intuitive yet it led to enormous scientific insights. Before Darwin it was Galileo Galilei who had the counter-intuitive idea that instead of the earth the sun could be the centre of the universe.
If you look for them you can find amazing counter-intuitive ideas everywhere:
- If you have the impression that you’re slowly but steadily are getting too fat the intuitive solution is to eat less. But if you eat less the body goes to starvation-mode and stores more fat. You’ll get better results by counter-intuitively eat as you did always but take some exercises.
- If you forgot somebody’s name you get the best results by counter-intuitively stop thinking about it. The missing name eventually will pop up out of nowhere.
- If you want your reader to click a link, make it counter-intuitively hard to do so. Well, here’s the link:
So what we can derive from these insights is their application in everyday’s life:
If what you’re doing does not work, try (counter-intuitively!) something completely different, regardless whether what you did (intuitively) in the first place should have worked.