We are complex creatures exposed to complex situations. On a daily basis, we make multiple decisions that affect ourselves and the people we encounter. In much of our decision making, we subconsciously rely on our intuition. Considering that some of our most important choices (who do I trust, who do I marry, do I take this job or assignment) are influenced by our instinct or intuition, it only makes sense to hone this aspect of ourselves so we can rely on it more comfortably.

So, what is Intuition?

One can think of Intuition as the brain of the primal self.  As a capacity, one can characterize it as unquestioningly believing something without reasoning. Intuition facilitates our decision-making process in personal and professional settings. When a person is faced with a circumstance where they are questioned, threatened or in danger, their senses tend to get magnified. The hairs on the back of their neck may stand, their skin may crawl or hands may sweat. Their body may take on a pose where they look like they are about to strike back to defend themselves from a threat.

Daniel Kahneman in his book Thinking, Fast and Slow, talks about one side of the brain that thinks fast and is attuned to feelings and intuition and the other side of the brain that taps into logic and reason. The former intuitively knows the right answer or solution compared to the later which is slower and needs to gather observations and apply reason to the situation. Oprah  talks about one’s intuition being the GPS to one’s true north. She describes how she begins by gathering all the information out there, listening to advice, ideas and proposals, but ultimately going with her gut feeling when making major decisions in her life.

Why is Intuition Important?

Intuition is important because it can provide answers to the really important questions we personally have. When a person is able to suspend their knowledge, the information they receive on a constant basis, the positive and negative experiences they have faced in life, what is left is the intuitive heart and spirit – a purer source of answer to life’s deepest questions. Our intuition tends to be a solid guide when choosing life paths and making difficulty choices.

Paolo Coelho describes intuition as being tapped into the heart of the universe. Sometimes, what feels like “dormant intuition” can be shaken awake by our conscious interaction with another  person. It is through that sharing that parts of us come alive again.

How can you sharpen your Intuition?

Below are some suggestions:

  • Capture the intuitive moment. Every time you have that “tingle” or your hairs are standing, stop and try to identify the source of your reaction. Is it something you heard before, or seen; is it something you were taught about? Is your intuitive feeling positive of negative? Are you on the defensive or on the offensive? Keep a journal and study your reactions. This will give you new insights into yourself.
  • Superhero yourself. This means imagining yourself as brave and strong, as having foresight and hindsight, as being the most powerful version of you, making your choices by consciously tapping into you “gut-feeling”.
  • Come home to yourself. Coming home to yourself is the first step in building personal confidence. Realizing that “you are enough and that the answers are within you” helps you listen to all your sources of knowledge, your mind and your heart. Combined, they will make you whole.

Take it from Gisele Bundchen who says that “the more you trust your intuition, the more empowered you become, the stronger you become, and the happier you become.”