Patience, young grasshopper’ said the wise Kung fu master, famously, to the Karate Kid. It was all about becoming alert to signs of change. The right signs.  And when something is beginning to sour in a culture, within a group, within a business, it becomes even more crucial to pick up early on any warning signs.

At a simple every-day level, some common non-rational behaviours can point to something shifting downwards on the general satisfaction curve.  You might have experienced a couple of them.

Eat. There may be noticeably more bun/ cake / biscuit activity. Truly.
Pray. Or rather, grumpy swearing. The incidence of ‘for gods/ goodness sake’ (often accompanied by rolling eyes) goes up. Truly.

Long before articulate, rational complaints begin to surface, there will be signs. The trick is to notice, to see an emerging pattern.

It’s not easy.

We all constantly over-estimate the significance of rational conscious data, and under-estimate the significance of data that we cannot quite define or verify.

Kung fu thinking? No, just the way the world is

Dark Matter was a twentieth century discovery. A Horizon enquiry into Dark Matter  called ‘How Big Is The Universe’ begins to paint the picture of just how little data about our surroundings we are able to perceive rationally.

It may seem hard to credit (especially those of us with unresolved control issues), but dark matter, which is impossible to detect with current instrumentation, may be constitute up to a quarter of the visible universe. Dark energy may constitute 70%.

The percentage of our universe that we can perceive and measure? It may be only 5%.

So instinct, sensing, just somehow feeling that something is shifting suddenly becomes as sound a basis from which to call for help as any designed and quantifiable survey data.

Hurry up with those biscuits.

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