We are constantly making decisions throughout the day. Some are routine such as what to eat for breakfast, but others can be life changing like quitting a job, getting married, or investing in the stock market. To maximize the success of our more critical decisions, we often rely on data to guide us. However, all too often, we simply don’t have access to enough reliable information to effectively resolve a complex challenge. This is where intuition comes into play.
What is intuition and how can it be of value to you?
According to psychologists, intuition is a feeling of immediate knowledge, understanding, or awareness, without the need for conscious reasoning. People commonly refer to intuition as a hunch, sixth sense, gut feeling, or instinct. A good example of intuition might be automatically trusting or distrusting someone, gauging the emotions of others, or love at first sight. It’s the inner voice that gives you an immediate sense of what’s right or wrong or what you should or shouldn’t do.
Intuition comes from your subconscious mind where you have little control over the patterns of experience and information that have been stored in it since birth. If you can learn to cultivate your intuition and blend it with the conscious mind that allows you to interpret facts and figures, you will be more likely to:
- Make choices more quickly.
- Produce better decision-making outcomes.
- Reduce the stress and strain caused by overthinking something.
- Acquire more immediate clarity.
- Move forward without getting stuck in indecisiveness.
- Gain confidence in yourself and your decision.
How can you cultivate your intuition to work best for you?
(1) Trust in the worth of intuition. Once you can acknowledge the vital role intuition plays in the decision-making process, you will have greater success in using it. Getting enough dependable data to make a wise decision is rare. Even when applying logic to your facts and figures, faulty information can skew your best attempts. To stack the outcomes of your decisions in your favor, fine-tune your intuition to the point that it can give you that extra nudge in the right direction.
(2) Spend quiet time connecting to yourself in the form of meditation, reflection, or just being present. Set aside time each day to clear your mind of distractions and listen to your inner thoughts without judgement. Be relaxed and open. This will allow you to become more attuned to receiving your intuitive messages as they come to you in the form of words, pictures, or sensations.
(3) Let go of your fear. To become more intuitive, stop second guessing yourself or being afraid of making mistakes. Refrain from allowing your wants, needs, or desires to overshadow or drown out your intuition. Like most people, you will have hits and misses until you start honing your skills. So, factor in being wrong as part of the learning curve.
(4) Ask yourself questions to activate your intuition. There is nothing random or passive about eliciting intuitive information. Ask yourself open-ended questions that will prompt your subconscious mind to respond. They can be as mundane as “which line at the bank is the fastest? to “how will this person respond to my request?” Your intuition will respond immediately, while the conscious mind will be more deliberate in its assessment of the situation. However, the combination of both is your winning ticket.
(5) Have a little faith in yourself. Swirling around you is a plethora of authentic, corrupt, and outdated information. No wonder, it has become increasingly more difficult to access and create logic out of today’s facts and figures. Instead of self-doubting or second guessing yourself, set aside your desires, gather as much solid data as you can, and connect with your intuition to decide on your best course of action for success.
Written by: Patricia K. Flanigan, Smart Strategies for Successful Living
Patricia K. Flanigan has worked in higher education for over 28 years. She holds a doctoral degree in Organizational Leadership from the University of La Verne as well as a M.A. in Latin American Studies and B.A. in Anthropology from the University of California, Los Angeles. Before retiring and moving to Idaho in 2015, she served as the dean of online education and learning resources at Saddleback College in Southern California.
She currently consults in higher education, volunteers for AARP, writes for a local magazine, and serves as an Affiliate Faculty member at Boise State University. Since February 2017, she has been the founding director for Smart Strategies for Successful Living, a community-based website designed to promote quality aging. As an educator, her focus is to inspire others to live and age well.