It doesn’t really matter what you call it. The voice within. The force. Intuition. What’s important is that it exists in each and every one of us. Like a little internal transmitter, there’s a wise part of us that’s always beaming out information – important information.
It can be hard to hear. Too often, my intellect tries to overwhelm my intuition with more traditional thinking. But each time I’ve really listened, my intuition has provided me with some rather extraordinary information: it will show me what’s wanting to happen in a situation, rather than what I want to have happen. An important distinction.
I don’t know if intuition is a sixth sense or simply the result of paying complete attention with the standard five. But it nearly always leads me down a path that my intellect alone can’t explain. Here’s an example that gave me an invaluable human experience, not to mention an award-winning ad for Dewar’s® White Label® Scotch Whisky.
Listen to the voice within
My crew and I had been in Scotland for almost three weeks, shooting photos for Dewar’s. We had planned to take a day off when I saw an announcement for the Highland Games. I heard that voice inside me say, “Forget the vacation day — Shoot!”
So at my intuition’s invitation, we went. There was lots of action: kilts and “manly” men. But as I took photos of athletes, I was aware my real interest was the judge.
He was a huge man, larger than any of the registered contestants in the Games that day. It wasn’t just his size that drew my attention. It was his look of contentment. “Just romantic imagination,” my intellect said dismissively.
My intuition countered, “Talk to this man!”
I walked up to the judging table. “Did you play in these games?” “Oh yes,” he replied. “I played for many years.”
“He was Scottish champion for most of them. That’s Henry Gray, you be talkin’ to!” said another man. And Henry smiled a wee, acknowledging smile.
“What do you do now?” I asked.
“I’m a farmer. I was a farmer when I was champion, and I’m a farmer still.”
“Is your farm close? Could I come and visit you?” When my intuition’s screaming, I get very presumptuous.
“Sure, sure,” he said and blessed me again with that wee smile.
See what happens
The next morning we drove to Henry’s farm. He came out from behind the barn dressed in what might have been the largest bib overalls in all of Scotland. “Well, what would you like me to do?” he said shyly.
Not having thought that far, I stammered, “Ah, do you have anything left over from your time in the Highland Games? A weight? A caber?”
Behind the barn he found a rusted weight, about 22 kilograms. “What’s wanting to happen here?” I asked myself. The answer, “My own little Highland Games.”
So there on his “front forty,” Henry practiced one last time. Dressed in his overalls, he spun and flung the weight while I clicked my shutter. The result was this photo. No one could ever have thought up this Dewar’s Scotch ad beforehand. But there it was, arising in front of us.
When we left that afternoon, we all knew we had a winning ad. But the story wasn’t over.
Two years later, I had the chance to drop in on Henry Gray. On his wall, in a fine wood frame, was the ad. Henry brought it to the table.
“Seemed ’nye half the clan saw the ad somewhere in the world,” Henry told me proudly, “I could hardly believe it, but it turned into one huge reunion right here on the farm,” he said.
He turned the framed ad over. The back was covered with signatures, well over a hundred — all relatives! His face beamed, not with a wee smile this time, but a full grin.