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Intution's Cobra Effect

Unintended consequences and negative outcomes express themselves when individuals, organizations or governments offer rewards and incentives to encourage people to take specific pro-social actions. Bad actors find and exploit flaws and weaknesses to claim such rewards through fraud and deceit. Overrun by corruption, it then collapses into abysmal failure. Only to be left in a worse state than before.

The city of Delhi was cobra-ridden when the British ruled. Officials offered a bounty to citizens for cobra skins. Cobra farming sprung up for breeding of their skins. The British paid more and more. The cobra infestation grew. Eventually the scam came to light and the bounty was removed. Farmers now had worthless cobras who then gave them away for free.

What is the difference between a poorly organized disaster and one that has been well-organized and orchestrated? Flawed execution is a breeding ground for grifters. Intuition, however, anticipates and avoids ill-fated outcomes and negative-yielding consequences. Intuition leverages critical thinking skills plans and problem-solves. An absent mind is linear and simplistic. How do we get rid of the cobras? An analytical, intuitive mind sees the who, what, when, where, why, and how of a thing--imagines it’s planning and manages its execution.

Intuition makes assumptions: What could go wrong and how? What’s the probability of that happening? What are the potentially unintended consequences or negative outcomes? How could external influences impact our plans and desired outcomes? What evidence brings confidence to those plans and assumptions?

The adage, “I should have listened to my gut”, is intuition standing in the gate. She’s a valuable friend. What is your intuition telling you now?

“Learn from the mistakes of others, as well as your own. When you know better, do better.”

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