In the last couple of articles in this Quantum Physics of Belief series, I was specifically discussing the usefulness of utilizing our instincts in making decisions that align our personal and organizational values to succeed at work.
Neuroscience shows that instinct plays a leading role in all types of decision-making. Our traditional ways of learning and thinking also favor the rational mind, leaving our potential for “intuitive intelligence” untapped. Intuitive Intelligence helps us activate the profound, yet often intangible, interaction between instinct and play.
Listening to the silent voice inside your head gets portrayed in movies and books as the evil part of man’s mind that turns mild-mannered citizens into lunatic killers. Business people have even seen intuition as some mystic hocus pocus nonsense that has no place in effective decision making in the executive or entrepreneurial world. It’s no wonder that many of us have been conditioned to ignore that voice and only listen to outside signals as our measurement of effectiveness to the actions we take in life.
We tend to think that rational decisions trump gut decisions, that hierarchy is necessary, and that logic rules all. The reality is that intuition and instinct—as imperfect as they may seem—are our most valuable untapped skills and the keys to unlocking creativity, understanding consumer decision-making and performing our best at work. Therefore, let us take a look at why gut decisions are more than guesses and why our typical approaches to decision-making are not in sync with how the human mind really works.
Businesses in particular, especially in times like these, tend to exert control and logic at the expense of creative thinking. However, some leading companies are going against the grain by tapping intuitive intelligence to win customers and profit. Here are some examples: Google does by getting the most from their teams with a paradoxical work culture; Hermès does by attracting customers with everything instinctual instead of rational price; Virgin America does by redefining customer experience to reinvent the airline industry.
The Oxford English Dictionary defines Intuition as: “The knowledge from within; instinctive knowledge or feeling without the use of rational processes.”
Intuition is not about extrasensory perception (ESP), a sixth sense or anything mystical or metaphysical. You know that sudden flash of insight that comes out of nowhere? It’s that sense you get or decision you make without really thinking about it; it just comes to you. That’s your intuition.
In reality, it doesn’t come out of nowhere. It is about data, gathered by your five senses, being recognized by everything your subconscious mind is aware of. And it is aware of everything.
Instead of dismissing intuition as an unfounded and irrational impulse, genius level success requires that you learn to accept and respect this voice, as it is your natural talents talking to you.
But do you really listen to it, or do you scoff at the idea that you actually pay attention to your inner voice? That intuitive voice is your guide, the one thing that you can truly count on that is always looking out for your best interest… if you choose to listen to it, not intercept the message, and ACT on its direction.
It’s very easy to let your voice of intuition be clouded by other things. Fear, desire, self-doubt, and rationalizing are all some of the many types of intuition blockers. Instead, trust that your intuition is your personal guide to the correct path for you at all times. Not just when your intuition falls in line with your thoughts on a subject. Turn off whatever limiting beliefs that may be overpowering your intuition.
Perhaps it’s your belief that intuition is just ‘mumbo jumbo’. It is easy to believe this because intuition is not thought of as a concrete thing. It is based on nonverbal things, feelings, unconscious thought, and instinct. This is definitely not a description for people who define things in black and white. Intuition is often looked at as gray. But it is not. Intuition is basically a synopsis of information that has been taken in through all of the senses, memory, subconscious, and reasoning.
When your intuition speaks to you do you hear it? Do you know how to identify it? Your intuition typically kicks in when you are quiet. Many people find answers to their questions in the dreams, or when meditating. Others find them “out of the blue”, when they are not looking for them. Many “feel” the right thing to do, or what the next course of action should be. There are many ways that your intuition will speak to you, and everyone’s intuition is unique.
How does one learn to trust their intuition? Like everything else, if it is practiced it becomes second nature. Allow yourself to consciously ask for the answers to something that you are seeking and write down the results when they occur. Visualize you unlocking a door and seeing your answer tumble from within.
Through repetition and proof, your confidence in your intuition will grow and it will become second nature to trust it automatically. Armed with this knowledge, you can engage in imaginative play to discover new solutions to even today’s most complicated challenges.
This is easier said than done, though. Just as we are taught not to trust our subconscious mind as much as our conscious one, we are also taught to go with what we know, not what we feel.
Great athletes are often quoted as saying, “If I have to think about it, it’s too late.” Even those people that most of us would assume must be very logical and rational turn out to be very much driven by their intuitions.
Albert Einstein’s genius for conceptual thinking was much more a feeling for him than a rationalization of the facts. So intuitive and pure was this talent, that he once wrote, “There is no logical path to [truth]. Only intuition, resting on sympathetic understanding of experience, can reach it.”
This level of trust in intuition is not unusual for any of the modern day geniuses we studied either. Most had a very hard time attempting to explain their decisions in a literal sense. They just knew how they felt and what things they saw clearly or not. Their level of intuition and willingness to trust their gut is extreme.
Learning to trust your intuition will be one of the more significant journeys you will take to reach genius levels in every aspect of your life. Think about the times in your past when you trusted your “gut” more than your brain or perhaps the times you responded to a situation or question effectively without having to think about it.
That, my friends is your intuition. It is what you need to listen to.
“The people in the Indian countryside don’t use their intellect like we do, they use their intuition instead, and the intuition is far more developed than in the rest of the world… Intuition is a very powerful thing, more powerful than intellect, in my opinion. That’s had a big impact on my work. Western rational thought is not an innate human characteristic, it is learned and it is the great achievement of Western civilization. In the villages of India, they never learned it. They learned something else, which is in some ways just as valuable but in other ways, is not. That’s the power of intuition and experiential wisdom.” ~ Steve Jobs
Dr Surya M Ganduri, PhD. PMP. is the Founder & President of eMBC, Inc., an international firm specializing in strategic and executive leadership development processes that Help People Succeed in an Evolving World. Dr Surya has over 28 years of business experience in management consulting, leadership development, executive coaching, process improvements, organizational development and youth leadership. For more information visit www.eMBCinc.com or contact eMBC, Inc., directly at (630) 445-1321.