Power of intuition – after author misses out on Madonna opportunity

Richard Graves, with his biographies on his uncle, Robert Graves.

A published author and businessman has learned to trust his instincts – after missing out on the chance to write Madonna’s biography more than 30 years ago.

Richard Graves, who is the financial director for GWS Media and its associated company GWS Robotics in Knowle, has written about celebrated personalities throughout history.

And in the mid-1980s he wanted to write about the famous singer, songwriter and actress – who is now celebrating an astonishing 40 years in pop and will release Finally Enough Love digitally on June 24 to mark the milestone.

But his literary agent at the time told him interest in her would wane and quashed the idea.

Desperately Seeking Susan

Richard Graves, author and businessman.

Richard, 75, said: “I saw her in the film Desperately Seeking Susan, her first major film role, and to me she radiated star quality.

“I wanted to write about her then because I knew she would be a big star, but my agent wouldn’t commission it. Sometimes even agents get it wrong.

“While I couldn’t do anything about that at the time, because they were effectively paying my wages, it’s taught me an important lesson – to trust my intuition.”

Richard has published highly acclaimed biographies and histories about people such as his uncle, the poet and novelist Robert Graves, and World War I legend Lawrence of Arabia.

He said: “I think intuition is a learned response to past experiences, along with close observation.

“I have spent a chunk of my life interviewing people, learning to spot subconscious signs about what makes them tick or is going on in their lives.

“I would also read letters and general works from the people I was writing about. From this, I could often tell, based on style and use of language, what stages in their life they were at – be it happy or sad, old or ill, starting out or coming to the end of their career or life.”

Intuition in decision-making

Richard Graves, with his biographies on his uncle, Robert Graves.

Online marketing company GWS Media was set up in 2000 by David Graves, who asked his father, Richard, to join him. GWS Robotics was then set up to customise robots for marketing and customer service.

After nearly two decades with the firm, Richard has learned to use his experience and intuition to make sound business decisions – particularly in three areas.

Richard, who read history at St John’s College, Oxford, said: “The first is in interviewing potential members of the GWS team and picking out people who, despite having relatively little experience, have the right work ethic and personality and turn out to be fast learners and become very valuable members of our team.

“The second is in recognising potential clients who have the capacity, with our help, to grow their businesses from a modest start to something remarkable.

“The third, equally important, is recognising potential clients with whom we are not such a good match – whether that is in relation to their ethics, to their unrealistic expectations, or to our intuition that they may not be agreeable people with whom to work.”

You Do Know

Becky Walsh, author of You Do Know: Learning to Act on Intuition Instantly, said: “Richard Graves is in good company – Richard Branson, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs have all said they use intuition for business. Let’s face it, they have had quite a bit of success with it.

“When you work with intuition you are able to have genius ideas that pop up out of nowhere. Entrepreneurs who work with intuition seem to know what business to sell, or when to buy, just at the right moment. They also come up with ideas that could be considered to be futuristic.”

Becky Walsh, author of You Do Know: Learning to Act on Intuition Instantly.
Becky Walsh, author of You Do Know: Learning to Act on Intuition Instantly.

The personal development coach and TEDx speaker from Weston added it takes confidence to act on intuition.

She said: “It is my belief that many of us get these ideas, but simply don’t act upon them. Often something that has never been done before is overlooked precisely because no-one has done it. It is those who don’t need validation who take the risks that often pay off.

“It’s not possible to avoid all problems using intuition but we need not limit ourselves to the belief that we can only know what we know by thinking.

“There is strong evidence in favour of the multiple ways we can know what we know – gut, heart and head brains all serve us well.”