I have always been fascinated by the idea of intuition. As a child, “I have a hunch” was the phrase we used when we were accessing our intuition. It seemed almost magical to me when I had a hunch about something and it happened as I expected. My fascination with intuition stemmed from the idea that there could be ways of “knowing” things that just couldn’t be explained. Back then, I gave up on it after seeing too many TV shows where psychics knew everything about everyone in the audience. I knew that couldn’t happen…
You have “intuitive hits” all the time as you go through your daily life. There are little bits of information being processed by your brain all the time that never reach your consciousness. This is the basis of what we call intuition.
I remember meeting my friend Laurie for the first time years ago. We both belonged to the same racquetball club and were put together as practice partners because we had about the same skill level. The first day we were to play, I walked into the club and realized within the first minute of meeting her that Laurie and I would be great friends. On this occasion, my intuition was correct. It would be impossible to say how I knew immediately that we would be friends, but something about her hit me. I believe that my brain saw in her traits that were very much like my own and other friends I have had and enjoyed.
Science has confirmed what we all know intuitively about intuition. There are two ways of knowing things. The first is being conscious of something – this is knowing in a deliberate and controlled way. You can know the color of your shirt or what time it is. The second way of knowing is through your unconscious; this way is automatic and unintentional. You can know what time it is without a clock or you know how that shirt on the rack would look on you without trying it on.
As you go through your days, your brain is collecting millions of pieces of information about everything and everyone you encounter. Only a small portion of this is conscious because each person only thinks about one thing at a time. The rest becomes part of your unconscious and influences your thinking, memory and attitudes without your even noticing the process happening.
Having a hunch, or intuition, is when information from your subconscious influences your consciousness. Intuition plays a large part of all your decision making because there is no way to shut off the brain’s connection to that vast subconscious storage area. It is amazing to think that perhaps 80% or more of your thinking is done without your awareness.
Intuition is often wrong. This is because our brain attempts to make patterns where none may exist – there is really no other way to process the loads of information that the brain receives and so intuition is inherently flawed. Being wrong with your intuition does not mean it is useless. It means that you can best treat your intuitive hits with some healthy skepticism. Exactly what I was doing as a kid when I doubted the TV psychics.
When you bring intuitive ideas into your conscious awareness, you can start to apply some conscious thinking to them to see if they make sense for you to follow or not. For example, on a recent vacation I ordered a chicken dish that turned out to be bright red. My intuition said “don’t eat that funny looking chicken”, but I didn’t really pay attention, I ate it and I ended up being very sick. I don’t think the red color was the problem, but I do think that if I had given that intuition more attention, I might have decided I just didn’t want to eat funny looking chicken and spared myself the illness. In this case my intuition was right. Noticing when your intuition calls and using it in a conscious decision making process can give you the power of both kinds of knowing things.
How often do you notice what your intuition is saying to you? How accurate do you feel you are intuitively? Let me know your thoughts on intuition by leaving a comment below.
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