A life designed by intuition
I’ve lived an interesting life.
I’m just 25 but I’ve already got three kids (one in the making), a beautiful wife, a house, a tech startup, a web design agency and a basketball team. I’ve been in and out of Christianity, New Age, a leftist political party, worked at Spotify for a couple of years, consulted for some excellent tech companies and picked up invaluable lessons in most of these places. I’ve been on stage in front of 5,000 people, been depressed and then high on life, feeling done and that everything from there on was a bonus in my life.
While it hasn’t always been glorious or easy, it’s all been guided and made possible through an incredibly powerful component I’d like to call intuition.
Without intuition I wouldn’t be anywhere near my current level of happiness or growth. Intuition is what guided me to spontaneously propose to my wife, it’s what helped me find a buyer for my first company and it’s what helped us decide to buy our new house right after a 15 minute ad-hoc viewing. These and countless other important life decisions have turned out much better than I could imagine or create by myself.
At first, intuition flowed to me most clearly through others. Sometimes from members of the church I was in, but most clearly from my great friend and mentor who could speak truths to me no one else could possibly know or understand, not even I whose life was on the table.
Then I started getting intuitive hunches myself. Feelings of knowing what to do, which books to read, which steps to take. But they were still sudden — uncontrolled, like a light bulb that sometimes appeared from the sky… but most of the time didn’t.
When I was just about to sell my first company and deciding what to do next, my first, own, most clear intuitive signal came to me. The company was a website for computer gamers and I had worked with it for many years. It was clearly time for me to move on but I didn’t understand that yet. I had been given the offer from the buyers to keep leading the team and building the site and I was considering to say yes. I had also just found Spotify, an awesome music service that just launched and I was pondering to apply for a job. Even though they weren’t searching for someone like me.
It started when I turned my attention inwards. I wanted to make a decision. I sat down, closed my eyes and began meditating. Suddenly I was very aware of a feeling I hadn’t felt before: It is time to move on. It wasn’t a voice that spoke to me yet somehow I had the sentence on my lips as if I was just about to say it. It is time to move on. I heard it repeated, in my own mind, a dozen times and slowly realized it was true. I had been lingering for too long.
A couple of nights later I had a dream. I was meeting Spotify’s CEO, Daniel Ek, and asked him if I could be his cleaner. Certainly their offices needed someone to do some crappy job? I mean I really wanted the job. Suddenly a colleague from my gaming website stepped into the dream and saw me sitting on my knees, begging to get a job. She said: “Jonatan, what are you doing? You’re the CEO! A President. You shouldn’t behave like this. Be who you are instead”.
The dream ended with a newspaper being handed out, and just when I was close enough to see what the headline said, I woke up.
I knew that I was supposed to decide the end of the story myself.
So I shifted my mindset and after having consulted my mentor about the dream, I sent another email to Spotify. It had been two weeks since I’d been there on my first interview and got a clear “no” as a response. I hadn’t exactly made the best impression, I knew that. I also knew the chances of getting another interview now were tiny but I told them I wasn’t more than 21 and that it had been my first job interview ever, and that I wanted another try.
Only this time I wouldn’t beg.
“How soon can you start?”, Andreas Ehn asked me, before the end of the second interview.
I could hardly believe what I heard.
This example is one out of several intuitive insights ranging from high to low. My intuition hasn’t always been right, but most of the time it’s been wise, when I really took the time to listen to it. Sometimes I’ve been like Neo from the Matrix, not being ready for the truth the first time. Desperately fighting to maintain an attitude or a situation that no longer serves me or others.
But I’ve learned to let go and open up inwardly, and that’s when truth can really start flowing. That’s when the words that flow through me somehow find their way to someone else’s heart and tell it precisely what it needs to hear, in the way it needs to hear it. My intuition doesn’t come from me but wouldn’t be without me, and so it is with yours.
I don’t know the source of it all, but I like to think I’m connecting with my soul. I don’t know exactly what that is and have found, after hearing multiple explanations and perspectives, that it doesn’t really matter. To me, it just works. To me, when I need a higher level of wisdom, love or inspiration, I turn inwards. These days I do it several times per day. When I’m designing products at work, when I try to understand others or make tough decisions. Whenever I’m considering the consequences of different opportunities, I fall back to intuition as my primary guiding tool. Without intuition, I’d be blind.
And so it is.
PS: My mind told me I have better things to do than write this post. My intuition told me otherwise. Let me know if it was worth your time :)