Prospective Hindsight: Technique to Improve Your Vision into the future

Blog Post No. 4, For My New Book: “Hunting Hunches – A narrative guide to develop intuitive decision making aura.”

CEOs attribute 21% of the reasons for success of a strategic initiative to “anticipating obstacles.”

I have used the prospective hindsight technique many times – It save your ass at tough times believe me on that. The word prospective means to imagine a scenario and the word hindsight means to look back from the scenario to the cause of that scenario. For example, imagine a flat tire on your automobile; a plausible cause is that you ran over a nail.

Prospective hindsight – aka “project pre-mortem” – is quick and straightforward. It helps with both vision development and with risk identification. The concept of prospective hindsight, aka., pre-mortem as fantastically narrated by Daniel Joseph Levitin, an American-Canadian cognitive psychologist and neurologist is based on the fact that you look ahead of the time to some bizarre situation which could do considerable damage to you, if go wrong, and; working backwards, you circumvent it through deliberately thinking what you can do, to prevent it or incur minimum damage. The idea of the pre-mortem is to able to ask questions to yourself based on your current situation or experience which can add information value to the intuition and deliberate thinking process to make the existing unsettling experience to move from dead-end or to minimise the damage whichever is the situation. This certainly mobilises a free hand to make a judgement based on those information chunks when a stalemate has reached.

When happy times are jumping in, we have the world by its tail and we are free of choices to make – emotionally and physically. Contrary, when times are tough stress and anxiety levels are extravagant and right there your adrenal gland releases Cortisol hormone to cloud your deliberate thinking process, and since your thinking is clouded you don’t even know that your thinking is clouded because your thinking is clouded. Now since your thinking is clouded you break the very first information feedback loop towards your intuitive thinking system – thus, the human drama – and, jeopardy of haphazard and disorganised decisions which ultimately leads to fatal results.

So to mobilise the organised thinking while reducing messy loop feedbacks, the very first step and the part of practise of pre-mortem is to recognise that heightened stress levels brings forth disproportionate levels of highly toxic Cortisol which clouds the thinking and breaks the useful information loop. Remember, a healthy information flow is critical and always appreciated in intuitive decision making while serving the pre-mortem. Intuition does not happen out of blue; rather, it is the result of high-end processing of multi-levels of data which is actually present in your long term (Experience) and short term (current situation) memory.

To illustrate the healthy information flow in physical world – consider a medical situation, where you go to doctor and he prescribes you some statins to reduce your cholesterol levels. Now there is a good information feedback into you and you imagine that high cholesterol is not good for your heart and your arteries so probably statins are good for you. Now if you have some prior experience in pharmacology or medical science, your situational feedback would rather push for another information pattern. You would ask yourself and the doctor – about NNT, which is the number needed to treat. NNT is actually in pharmacology, the number of patient needed to be fed with drug or should undergo some surgery in order to get one person treated or helped. In addition, NNT for statin, surprisingly, is nearly 300; in other words, 300 people need to be prescribed before 1 person is treated as estimated by Bloomberg.com. And that might be the end of your information loop and you may say alright 1 in 300 is not the worst odd in my favour to not to die with coronary heart failure in a long run. However, information flow says, here you should ask the doctor about the statistics of side effects for this particular drug? Now for statin the doc would rather say – as much as 5 present of people have shown terrible side effects such as joint pain and gastro or intestinal distress. And you will say by common reasoning, ‘that its ok, its only 5%, it would never happen to me’, but hold on sec – 5% means 15 persons in 300 have a chance to catch side effects, while 1 person in 300 has chance to be treated by this drug, that says – You have a 15 % more chance to be harmed by the drug rather than to be helped by it.

This is a good analogy of typical flow of information loop if you have a good experience background. Now I am not saying it’s a good example of intuition, rather it involves no intuition at all. However, it’s a good platform for intuition, in-fact to act, and; if you have already done your lessons and practiced well enough to listen its subtle calling – you might listen a slow steady voice saying whether to go for this statins or not – despite all the odds. And if you listen this steady calling, it would defy all the odds and the statistics I have mentioned above; as ensuring your wellbeing is what you intuitions first hand work.

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