Try It. You Might Embrace It.

“Intuition is perception via the unconscious.” ~ Carl Jung

When it comes to decision-making, are you logical or intuitive? A while back I wrote about emotional intelligence (EQ) and intellectual intelligence (IQ) and how EQ is replacing IQ as a new measure for business and social success. Today I paused, reflecting on the plethora of assessments used to test and measure seemingly every facet of human consciousness, behavior, skills, potential, and preferences.

But let’s bring this back to intuition, which to some is not considered a true science and is often categorized as parapsychology. Whether it is a true science or not, it exists. And those who are intuitive know that they do things differently. Here are three examples:

  1. They practice mindfulness. Meditation and mindfulness practices can be an excellent way to tap into your intuition. Mindfulness (paying attention to one’s current experience in a non-judgmental way) helps one to filter out chatter, weigh options objectively, and ultimately make decisions that you can stand behind completely.
  2. They connect deeply with others. Mind reading or “empathic accuracy” refers to the seemingly magical ability to map someone’s mental terrain from their words, emotions and body language. Tuning into your own emotions, and spending time observing and listening to others can boost one’s powers of empathy.
  3. They mindfully let go of negative emotions. Strong emotions, particularly negative ones, cloud intuition. The evidence isn’t just anecdotal. A 2013 study published in the journal Psychological Science showed that being in a positive mood boosted one’s ability to make intuitive judgments. Your intuition fares better if you’re able to mindfully accept and let go of negative emotions, rather than suppressing or dwelling on them.

It’s that age-old, mind versus gut ‘thing.’ Which do you trust more? With which are you more comfortable? If you’re interested in further exploring or strengthening your intuitive abilities, here are three (of many) ways:

  • Accept that you are not in control. Don’t try to shut down your uncomfortable emotions. You will return to a state of balance as those emotions evolve on their own. Making critical decisions can be gut-wrenching. And you know this. Consider being open to another source of self-knowledge.
  • Be spontaneous. Try new things and go with the flow. Notice how often you find yourself in the right place at the right time. Awareness, when coupled with intuition, can yield expanded insight.
  • Practice. It is important to practice using intuition. Begin with something small that has little impact on your life. For example, try to guess who is calling before you answer the phone. Guess which elevator will come first when you’re standing in front of a bank of elevators. Stay relaxed and focused so as not to be distracted by other mental chatter. As you practice you will gain confidence in using this skill. The greater your confidence about identifying your intuitive voice, the more you will trust it and be able to act on it.

38 thoughts on “Try It. You Might Embrace It.

  1. Nice piece, Eric. While it may be true that emotions can cloud intuition, I like the idea of “wise mind”” where you are in touch with a balance of emotional mind and logical mind.

    • I believe the balance you speak of, Ann, is what many (most?) prefer. I’ve also had conversations with people who believe so strongly in one or the other (logic versus intuition), that trying to strike a balance between the two may not be for everyone. Personally, I lean 65/35 (toward intuitive decision making) — but that’s simply me. Seems “wise mind” could apply to multiple variations. πŸ™‚

  2. A while back I was going back and forth with how to use intuition in decision making process (in general and political sense). Because, as you state it – our intuitions are not going away. We like it or not, most of our activities are managed by intuitive thinking. Then what can we do to train this process to be more of utility than obstacle when it comes to really hard decisions? I thought that training in decision making process can sharpen intuition, but there is little chance to be able to prove it empirically.

    • As shard in the post, Przemek, developing one’s intuitive abilities can benefit/grow from practice. And to your interesting question, why would one need or want to prove it empirically? It’s one of those beautiful gifts that is much more art, subjective, and qualitative. ROI-like alignments aren’t applicable to intuition. Or are they?

      • Because our assumption that we can improve on systemic mistakes that intuitive thinking makes could be wrong (even if our inference about it seems valid) – It would be nice to test if it really is the case at all. Another benefit of empirically testing of training effect on intuitive thinking would be evidence that in long term decision making process could be taught more effectively.

        Also political culture should benefit (also in long term) – it would be nice if we could know (not estimate or believe) how developed political intuitions of candidates are πŸ™‚ Day to day economic decisions, etc.

        There is really a lot to improve in decision making field, especially with intuitive thinking itself and the cooperation between rational processes and intuitive thinking.

  3. Great post. I’m very intuitive. Probably too much at times. I usually base decisions on gut instincts or feelings. But this was interesting.

    • Consider yourself among the gifted, Ger. If you possess intuitive abilities, are aware of them, and you comfortably place trust/faith in them, then be confident in your gut decision-making. Curious then… why say “Probably too much at times.”?

      • They’re not always right and I should think a little before acting at times. However, I will say that my instincts have never seen me break the law!

  4. I believe I’ve always been more intuitive about things in my life and often about other people. At the same time, there’s got to be some logic to it! Here I go, back and forth! Perhaps balance is the key! πŸ™‚

      • I don’t know, Eric, call it a gut feeling! πŸ˜†

        But in all honesty (and I must be honest here!), when I think about the times I’ve gone with my gut (so to speak), I’d say there’s pretty much no logic involved! And it seems like nearly every time I try to interject logic into intuitive decisions, things just get confusing! Like now. heehee So, aren’t you glad you asked?

      • I am glad I asked because what you shared is telling. You possess, use and appreciate your intuitive abilities. And you’re aware that they serve you well. And there *is* no logic involved. Sounds like clarity to me. πŸ™‚

  5. Very intuitive article, Eric. When I took the Myers Briggs test way back in 2008, I got the INTJ profile (and quite high on the intuitive side), I agree with a lot of the points listed in the INTJ personality assessment.

    I also read a book on the value of “snap judgment” which is not really a hasty decision but an ability for some to harness the higher potential of their brain to be able to come up with a decision at a very fast rate, often relying on knowledge buried in the subconscious to make unprecedented conclusions.

    Also, mentalists, mind-readers, fortune-tellers, psychiatrists, guidance counselors, detectives, and stock market brokers rely a lot on their intuition in their craft. But intuition is also quite important in every field, The industry rewards astute observations and accurate forecasting.

    • Excellent perspectives, Reggie. You are well-informed and seem to have a solid grasp on what intuition is and means to you. Thank you for creating time to add richness to this thread. I appreciate your reading and comment!

  6. I especially like the part about intuition. I used to tell my martial arts students to trust their instinct. I advised that they always trust that hair on the back of the neck rising as a warning. To trust that butterfly feeling in their guts. Etc. We train ourselves as we get older to ignore or forget about our body giving us signals.

    • Just when we ought to be heeding what our bodies are telling us — some shift to disregard. Given intuition’s significance in our lives, one would think we’d want to hone and use those signals even more as we become physically and possibly, intellectually frail. You were/are an astute sensei, Colleen!

      • Thank you Eric. And you’re right. Why do we teach ourselves to not pay attention to our instincts?

        I know it starts as small children. When a child shows fear of something and ‘we’ talk them out of it. Instead of responding to the child’s fear that we don’t understand we tell them there is nothing to fear.

    • Good on you, Denise, for choosing to try to be more aware and then taking notice. I suspect your focused efforts will yield some valuable insights! Thanks for stopping by and sharing your personal experience.

  7. It’s so true that practicing the use of our intuition is of utmost importance. It’s strange how far away we veer from what we know, and it’s incredibly empowering to get back in touch with it.
    Great post ~ gave me lots of good stuff to ponder!
    ~ Andrea ❀

    • Thanks for stopping by and adding to the conversation, Elizabeth. I hear and agree with the conflicting views you mention. My “sides” also challenge each other and intuition prevails probably 98% of the time. πŸ™‚

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