Week 7 — The Week Of Reckoning

Adriel Fong
4 min readOct 30, 2020
Taken By cottonbro

And then there was 11 …

Barely 2 months into this programme, we’ve witnessed the departure of 5 venture builders due to various reasons.

But we press on, as individuals and as a collective, because we know that the prize at the end of this journey is worth the beating.

It’s funny how the brain works. When we meet tough times, we seem to have this innate panic to get out immediately. Many times we pray for whatever higher being to take the thorn out of our flesh.

After we stop whining about our perceived discomfort and focus on adapting to our pain in order to reach our goal, we realise that it wasn’t so painful after all.

When we look back and witness the growth from the whole experience. It’s times like this that you come to terms that the suffering was worth the pain and that your brain was merely reacting naturally towards pain as a protective mechanism.

Today, I was reminded of something very important about the brain that I was taught in the first week of the venture building programme by Dr Alex.

Numerous cognitive neuroscientists have conducted studies that have revealed that only 5% of our cognitive activities (decisions, emotions, actions, behaviour) is conscious whereas the remaining 95% is generated in a non-conscious manner.

So, the head knowledge and the stuff that we know as “IQ” probably takes up less than 2% of our cognitive function.

When we think about using IQ as the gold standard to pit two similar individuals against each other, doesn’t it seem foolish to compare <2% of their brain function?

The truth is that we can only measure and understand that miniscule 2%. No matter how smart or established a scientist is in learning about the brain, many people have not understood and tested the 95%. Similar to how less than 10% of our DNA is used to produced proteins essential to our daily lives. We don’t exactly know why this “garbage DNA” is there for.

Take for example the story of Louis Agassiz told by his wife. Louis had been striving hard to decipher the weird impression of a fossil fish on a stone slab that it was preserved in. After working long hours, he felt weary and perplexed. So, he put his work aside and tried to get it out of his mind. Soon, he woke up one night convinced that he had seen his fish while asleep with all of the missing features perfectly put together.

The next day, he went down to his workplace thinking that he could conjure up the fish vision that he had received the night before. Alas, he couldn’t. His mind’s image was even more blur than the fossil itself!

The second night came round and Louis turned out to “dream” about the fish again! But when he waked, the image left him as quickly as it came to him.

Finally on the third night, he armed himself with a pencil and paper, hoping to catch this elusive fish vision from his dreams. Edging towards the morning time, he saw the fish again in his half-drunk sleep stupor. This time, he saw it with such clarity that he was able to trace out the characteristics of the animal in perfect darkness.

In the morning, he rushed back to his workplace with his dream drawing in his possession. Using his drawing as a guide, he chipped away at the block to reveal portions of the fish that was hidden!

Once the whole fossil was exposed, there it was! The fossil coincided identically with the drawing that Louis had produced in his dream.

one of Louis Agassiz’s many fossils

In Maxwell Maltz’s book, Psycho-Cybernetics, Maltz speaks of a goal-striving creative mechanism that is wired in each of us. Although he explains it the best he can from his perspective, it is a limited (but very insightful) view. Simply because the creative mechanism installed in us isn’t part of our conscious mind (5%) but part of the 95% that we cannot make sense of.

Imagine if we would dare to just explore and harness just a sliver of the 95% in our subconsciousness? Wouldn’t it negate this whole IQ and EQ rat race that we belong to?

We’ve been wired by society to think that studying hard would equate to success in working life, but how many actually question the truth behind this statement that we build our whole lives upon? Wouldn’t tapping into the 95% result in a quantum leap over everyone compared to just fighting over scraps of the <2%?

Think about it.