Develop Your Intuition for Faster and Better Results
Updated: Apr 17
“Intuition will tell the thinking mind where to look next.” – Jonas Salk
Intuition is “the ability to acquire knowledge without proof, evidence, conscious reasoning,” or even knowing how we know what we know.
This sixth sense has been bred into humans since we depended on it for our daily survival. As the danger of the sabretooth has gone by the wayside, so too has our regular use and appreciation for our own innate super-power.
We might believe decisions are made either by rational decision-making processes or by intuition, with the latter considered irrational and less valuable in comparison. This can lead to second-guessing our internal voice, depending instead on the world around us and the people in it to weigh in for answers unique to us alone.
Steve Jobs called intuition more powerful than intellect. Research has shown that following a gut instinct leads not only to faster, but to more accurate decisions, often beating those of over-thinkers and the long-researched pro/con list.
But when we pit them against each other, we ignore how they actually work together: where prior knowledge and years of experience feed the intuitive decision. People with a lot of life experience and who take in a lot of information, have brains aware of more data points and potential options.
Our brains are designed to look for patterns. Known by scientists as the “predictive processing framework”, your mind takes in new information and compares it to sometimes decades of data already stored in the mind. It develops predictions of what may happen next. This is the impressive engine into which your intuition taps to guide you.
It’s a quick, invaluable filter. In our world of information overload, it instantly separates important information from that which can be ignored; subconsciously separating the wheat from the chaff.
“This feeling, this little whisper from deep inside your brain, may contain far more information – both facts and impressions – than you’re likely to obtain from hours of analyzing data.” – Roy Rowan
But in order to hear this highly personalized and resourceful messenger, we must unplug from the constant noise and outside opinions that continually seduce us from ourselves. The speed and cacophony of the world isn’t conducive to listening. Our collective anxiety and depression have also been shown to interfere with our intuition.
It takes time and practice to tap back in to hear what we already know we should do next. Like most everything, it’s a skill that can be developed and honed with practice.
A loyal friend and guide, if we are willing to listen and to follow.
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