Have you ever had the experience where you felt that something was wrong, but you just didn’t know why? Perhaps all the facts were pointing in one direction, yet your “gut” was telling you something else. You probably know the feeling – most people do.
It’s called intuition.
When you have these feelings, do you just shrug it off and ignore it? Or does it set off an alarm in your mind that you should pay attention to it?
For many people, it’s difficult decision to figure out whether to go against logic and facts by following your intuition. Because sometimes the gut feeling just seems like illogical nonsense.
We live in a world where humans are taught to believe that rationality and logic are more reliable and useful than our intuition. And this can apply to any kind of decision, from where to invest your money in the stock market to what food to eat. Most people would disagree with you if you tried to argue that point. But what if it was true?
A Practical Definition of Intuition
If you Google the term “intuition,” you will probably find many different definitions. Everyone seems to have their own bent to what the experience is like.
However, in a nutshell, we can really pin it down to a working definition like this:
“A person’s ability to have knowledge or immediate insight into something without having logical evidence to feel that way. It’s a sensation that appears quickly in the conscious mind without knowing the underlying reasons for it.”
Other words that are often used to describe intuition are: gut feeling, hunch, sixth sense, instinct, and even psychic ability.
In essence, intuition is the experience that bridges the gap between our conscious and subconscious minds. Our subconscious (emotional) side is telling our conscious (logical) mind that something is going against our five physical senses. Hence, the term “sixth sense.”
Sadly, we are taught that our intuition is “wrong” or “silly.” Therefore, most of us were taught to ignore it, and instead, rely on logic, facts, and rationality. Some people are even embarrassed to admit that they made a decision using their intuition for fear that others might ridicule them for doing so.
However, from a primal perspective, intuition exists for a reason. Thus, it is probably best to use both a mix of logic and intuition when making any kind of decision in life. But when we consistently ignore our gut feeling, we might end up making poor decisions that could negatively affect our life.
The Purpose of Intuition
Back in the “Cave Man Days,” humans didn’t have the ability to think as deeply and logically as we do today. It may have been there deep in our brains, but they didn’t really have much use for it because they were so busy with surviving in the wilderness.
Think about it – if you were a cave man/woman, and a tiger was running straight towards you with the intention of making you its dinner, would you stop and logically analyze whether or not you should run away? Of course not! That would be foolish. Your survival instinct would automatically kick in and you would start running way, because if you stopped to think too long, you would be dead.
Many people say that “we are not animals.” But in reality, we really are. Our brains have just evolved much more complexly than other animals.
All animals (including humans) use intuition. For example, have you ever watched a flock of birds flying together? You know the kind – thousands upon thousands of them flying together in perfect formation. Have you ever wondered how they ALL know which way to turn at every given moment? None of them ever fly into each other, butt heads, and kill themselves. It’s actually quite fascinating if you think about it.
It all comes down to intuition. Somehow, birds have an uncanny intuition/communication with one another to do that. And because humans rely more on logic, if we tried that, it would be mass chaos.
However, that doesn’t mean that humans have lost their intuitive abilities, we’ve just been trained to ignore them.
"We don’t have to reject logic and rationality in order to benefit from intuition. In fact, it’s important that you use all available information – both conscious and unconscious – to make the best decisions."
We don’t have to reject logic and rationality in order to benefit from intuition. In fact, it’s important that you use all available information – both conscious and unconscious – to make the best decisions.
Why Some People are Naturally More “Intuitive” Than Others
As stated above, some people look down upon others who follow their gut instinct. They might even find it humorous that someone would be likely to ignore logic, throw caution to the wind, and make a decision that goes against the facts.
Here are some possible reasons that some people seem to be more naturally intuitive than others:
They are more in touch with their feelings.
Some people are just much more sensitive to feelings. They may cry at anything – when they they’re happy, sad, or just stressed out. While other people are not in touch with their feelings at all. In fact, these kinds of people might not even know they had a headache and didn’t feel well for a few days - until they get better and they realize, “Gee, I think I was sick!”
That might sound a bit far-fetched, but it’s true. Some people just are much more in tune with their emotions than others. These people tend to be more intuitive because let’s face it – that’s what your gut feeling is – a FEELING.
They are good at reading other people.
One major area where intuition helps people in life is by sizing up others. Unfortunately, not everyone you meet will be nice to you or have good intentions. Sure, they might put on a good act and make you think they are an awesome person, but perhaps deep down they are not.
Intuitive people can pick up on their “act.” They can see right through some people and see at the core of who they really are – not who they are trying to present themselves to be.
They pick up on energy in their environment.
Have you ever been at a store, and then suddenly you can just “feel” someone standing in your vincinity – even if you can’t see them? If so, then you are probably quite in tune with your intuition.
Some people can just feel other people’s energy. Even if they look happy, perhaps they are not giving out good vibrations. Because of this, intuitive people read their energy, and not their words and actions. They can also do similar things when they walk into an environment and sense the good or band energy that lurks in the area.
They have high emotional intelligence.
Although the scientific community would have you believe that all IQs can be measured on a numerical scale, there are many different kinds of intelligences that are much more difficult to measure, and emotional intelligence (or EQ) is one of them.
Emotional intelligence is the ability to know yourself, monitor your thoughts and emotions, and also manage the behavior you present to the world. Also, the ability to read people is another vital component of emotional intelligence as well.
They could be women.
Obviously, this isn’t always true. There are plenty of intuitive men in the world. However, women’s brains allow them to be more in touch with their emotions than men’s brains do. Everyone is different, but the two hemispheres of the brain are more strongly connected in the female population.
Become More Sure of Decisions and Your Life's Direction as You Develop Your Intuition
The Importance of Developing and Listening to Your Intuition
You may be one of those people who thinks that listening to your intuition is pointless. But hopefully by now, you have come to a different conclusion. If not, here are some additional reasons why you should develop and listen to your gut feelings.
Intuition Prevents You From Overthinking
If you are the type of person who is prone to “analysis paralysis,” then you probably would like to be free of it. Many people do this – they think, and then re-think, and then think again. This leads to an unnecessary amount of overthinking.
The rational brain can come up with different conclusions based on the perspective it takes on a situation. You might remember back in school when you were taking a multiple choice exam. Sometimes it was agony trying to decide between two or more answers because both of them could be “right.” But using your intuition can help you get out of this rut of thinking things through too much.
Intuition Helps You Avoid the "Shoulds" of Life
As we grow up, we are surrounded by so many messages about who we “should” become. How we “should” act. How we “should” be successful.
How we “should” do what society or our parents tell us to do.
While not all of that is bad, none of these “shoulds” usually come from YOU. They come from outside of you. For example, maybe you decided to pursue medicine as a career because your parents encouraged you to. But did it feel right to YOU? That is the real question that intuition helps you answer.
Use Intuition to Know What You REALLY Want
Let’s say you have a job offer in your hand, but it’s only for a temporary position. But you also have a job interview lined up in two weeks for a much better job, but you are not even sure if you’ll even get that one. What should you do? You don’t know, because one is a sure thing (but not as good), and the other one is taking a risk.
Sometimes your logical mind can get in the way of these decisions, because it will trick you into thinking you don’t know what you really want. If this ever happens to you, try this trick. Take out a quarter and say, “If it’s heads, I’ll do X. If it’s tails, I’ll do Y.” Then flip the coin and see how you feel when it lands. This will give you a clue as to what your intuition is really telling you to do.
Let Intuition Warn You About “Dangerous” or Undesirable People or Situations
As discussed above, from a primitive standpoint, intuition is designed for survival. Your gut feeling warns you about anything that might harm your well-being. While most of us are not fighting off wild animals anymore, we still have things in our world that could threaten our happiness.
These things can be anything from people to undesirable situations that we might accidentally get ourselves into if we don’t listen to what our intuition is telling us.
Intuition Can Be Your “Destiny” Speaking to You
If you are a spiritual or religious person, intuition could be God/The Universe’s way of pointing you toward your destiny. Some people believe in destiny, and others don’t. But if you’re one of them, perhaps following your sixth sense will lead you where you are supposed to be in this life.
Whether you are a skeptic or a believer, intuition happens to all of us. You can ignore it, or you can follow it – the choice is yours. But, really, what do you have to lose by giving it a chance? You just might make your life a whole lot happier if you do.
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