On December 14, 2014, I had the unique opportunity to participate in the first WhatsApp Chat organised by More Than HR Global (MTHRG) titled Powers of the Mind and what you can do with them. This was attended by 50+ members from their “Friends of MTHRG” (FOM) WhatsApp group.

Rajesh Kamath, a co-founder of the MTHRG – and a good friend of mine – moderated this WhatsApp chat rather well, that was tweeted about on Twitter using the using Hashtag #MTHRMindChat. 

Here is the transcript of the interesting Q&A session with only minor corrections made to address typos and spellos and other inadvertent errors caused due to the phone-based typing.

Rajesh Kamath: Nakul did his first session for us in 2007. And thereafter in 2010. And now recently in 2014.

Nakul, a big welcome to u 

Nakul Shenoy: Thank you Rajesh and all of you 🙂

This is a first for me. Have done many Twitter chats but my first WA chat.

Q. What are 2 or 3 powers of the mind which are most potent and least used by  professionals?

Nakul Shenoy: There are many, and most linked to the way our mind works. I would look at these as the crux: Listening. Seeing. Remembering.

To explain further,

1. The problem is that we are so caught up in what we think is communication; we are always keen to speak and get out points across. This is the same with everybody, and so: nobody is really listening.

Also the filters that we have in our mind (the baggage were carry) colour the perception much.

2. Again the Seeing is closed by the baggage we carry and it is not funny the way our mind sees things that does not exist.

3. We mostly do not remember. And or memories are mostly false. If you go to medium.com/@nakulshenoy you will see a small article I wrote for Popular science India which provides the basics of why our memory is not to be trusted.

I would again recommend the Invisible Gorilla by Dan Simons & Christopher Chabris to understand details of all the points made. Even a google search would provide much for dope on inattentional blindness.

Q: Nakul, can you please advise on what are the top three things a leader should practice to communicate in a composed and precise speaking listener language?

Nakul Shenoy: The main thing that anybody should practice for effective communication is to

1. understand that each of us brings our personal perspective (map) of the world.

2. Be aware of your highly personalised view of the world that will colour everything that you day, hear, see

3. Be aware that others are also bringing highly individualised view of the world, and can only see, hear, feel, emote via that map

We cannot hope to understand others maps; at best we can only acknowledge it. This itself would take away most of the issues faced in communication.

Q. So what’s get ahead is it our collective mind?

Nakul Shenoy: “Get ahead”. Sorry, I did not understand the context here.
(Note: It looks like we never got back to understanding this question.)

Q: I wanted to have your thoughts on the Deja Vu feeling or experience  that I have sometimes. Is there some science or meaning to it. How can it be used to ur advantage? Or should I just ignore?

Nakul Shenoy: Deja vu. We would all like it to be some paranormal occurrence that tells us of our future… but neuro scientists holds the opinion that it is just the brain being busy at doing what it does best…

It understands everything around it by comparing it to what it already knows and looking for patterns. At times it creates it’s own “familiarity”. And they say that explained the “being here before” feeling.

Sanjay: So that’s what it is….. internal noise

Nakul Shenoy: A wonderful feeling 😉

Q: Everybody has intuitive powers, many business leaders use them, but why is it that nobody wants to admit them?

Nakul Shenoy: The “blink” feeling…

Q: I have often experienced myself that decisions taken by subconscious mind are far more accurate than ones, which we deliberately think on.. What are your views on this Nakul ?

Nakul Shenoy: So here goes… A long answer 🙂

The conscious mind is the one we are aware of. The nonconscious one is the one that is always busy at work. It has its own way of functioning, a set of stereotypes, paradigms, and methods we have no understanding of (of your own mind).

It takes in everything it comes across and takes decisions in under 4 secs. Rigid decisions that you are unaware of; So everybody and every thing is automatically categorised. This is non conscious first impression.

So most of the “intuitive” thoughts and decisions we talk about are actually the decisions from the nonconscious mind… which follows its own rationale. Simon & Chabris have shot down the whole Blink philosophy saying it is not really happening the way we think it is. It is basically the feedback from the nonconscious mind – which can be right or wrong.

Q. So.. Is the subconscious mind really more accurate Nakul? Any scientific research on it? (Follow up question)

Nakul Shenoy: We would all like to say intuition is this magical power that always works. No. It is based on the stereotypes you carry with you. So if your stereotypes/baggage is in the correct context then “intuition” works.

Also, we only remember those decisions that worked.

Q. Can you define intuition?

Nakul Shenoy: I think the last part of the earlier answer just answered this one too.

Intuition: basically the feedback received from the nonconscious mind on the topic at hand – which can be right or wrong.

Q: Or can we say that we are subconsciously tapping into universal wisdom?

Nakul Shenoy: Can’t really comment on subconsciously tapping into universal wisdom. Most of the times it is not clear how our mind knows what it does. Like I said it is on this rampant information collection, analysis, categorisation mode all the time.

Q: So what are your views on serendipity at work? Is there some mind stuff at play or just that ‘happy chance’?

Nakul Shenoy: The theory that scientists subscribe to most is that we remember only those situations where ‘serendipity’ or synchronicity occurs. There are many more instances when we think of folks, but they don’t call/contact at that moment. When it happens it is so surprising that we wish there was something magical about it.

Q: If it is unpredictable about its correctness what use is it?

Nakul Shenoy: Your mind gives you the answers based on all that it knows. If you are aware to the baggage you carry, you can learn to put “intuition” to very good use. So there it clearly becomes a skill.

Q. Intuition is internal. Is there something external as well ?

Nakul Shenoy: It is a combination of both. The nonconscious mind is processing all the information available to it – whether already known, or new based on the circumstances and the environment.

Q. So many times, you know the result of an event in advance, though there may not be connection with such an event. What’s that n how’s does that happen?

Nakul Shenoy: Our mind is always reading it’s environment. We have forgotten this skill over the zeal to grow up. Body language is  biological, not merely behavioural. So many times, your mind knows the outcome because it reads the circumstances which you are not consciously observing.

Q. Reframed. Nakul, how do u read minds? 

Nakul Shenoy: Hahaha!

One: I put most of my learnings in behaviour, communication, body language to good use. I vie to be as aware as I can and listen, see, …

Two: On stage, it does not matter. I am there as an entertainer, and the goal is to entertain.

Q. So isn’t  intuition very subject and random though most would agree it follows the pattern or happens the way you had thought almost 70% of the time

Nakul Shenoy: We are repeating. What you call intuition is what you hear from your mind, which you will hear as you want to see/hear – based on the context you are in – and what you really wish to hear 🙂

Q16: Can we map or measure or monitor intuition?

Nakul Shenoy: Mapping / Measuring “intuition” is a subject of neuroscience. With prods and various in-lab tests…

Q: Has intuition been mapped under neuroscience?  Any data?

Nakul Shenoy: I am not a neuro scientist, but a communication one. Yet I do know about various such serious studies carried out by brain scientists. Would not be able to quote offhand.

Q. Nakul…In what conditions mind read heart n how it is decided to take decision n follow whom…mind r heart…

Nakul Shenoy: Again it is what you want to hear. The matters of the heart are not in the heart, but the mind and brain. You see what you wish to see and take actions based on that 🙂

Q: Which are some of those mind powers which can be actually learnt and practised as skills in our work-life? Besides seeing, listening and remembering? Or are we saying those three are everything?

Nakul Shenoy: The ability to read people via their mannerisms, actions and words – be a complete communicator – that is the best element. And these are all skills that you develop.

Those three are not everything, but a good beginning 🙂

Q: Hi Nakul. Is NLP program advisable ?

Nakul Shenoy: Yes. I am a “Master Practitioner” too. But take everything with a pinch of salt.

Q: How do you connect Little Professor in T A (Transactional Analysis) with intuition?

Nakul Shenoy: Sorry. Not in my Map yet 🙂

Will read up and get back. I may be aware of it with some other term. Will double check and get back.

(Note: Learnt later that ‘TA’ here was referring to Transactional Analysis.)

Q: So can people throw thoughts at you? Project thoughts?

Nakul Shenoy: Of course. And we do that all the time. We influence decisions around us, and others do that in us.

The point is if we understand these skills and experience it, we can control the communication much much better.

Q: You seem to do that quite often. How can one learn that? Can we be your students, Nakul?

Nakul Shenoy: What do you wish to learn? I have workshops in Magic and in Persuasive Communication that I host once in a while. The next time there is one, I will ask Rajesh to let you guys know. If it interests you…

Q: Do animals have intuition?

Nakul Shenoy: Again depends what we understand “intuition” but yes: Animals ‘know’ too.

Q: How does one subscribe to your newsletter?

Nakul Shenoy: Just go over to www.nakulshenoy.com/newsletter and sign up.

Rajesh Kamath: Many thanks fm MTHR Core team! This was incredible

Nakul Shenoy: It was a phenomenal experience. Other than having to ‘swipe’ so much on the phone…

Participant: Wonderful session Nakul..as usual ur always grt… tks for ur time…

Nakul Shenoy: A pleasure all. Thanks again.


Note: The tweets originated from this live chat have been Storified by MTHRG here.