Could in­tu­ition be your su­per power?

THERE ARE TIMES YOU MIGHT RE­GRET NOT HAV­ING FOL­LOWED YOUR IN­TU­ITION, AND TIMES YOU PROB­A­BLY SHOULDN’T HAVE TRUSTED THAT HUNCH, SO HOW DO YOU KNOW WHEN TO HAVE FAITH IN YOUR FEEL­INGS AND WHEN TO REA­SON AGAINST THEM?

Your Family - - Contents -

WELL­BE­ING

Have you ever taken an im­me­di­ate dis­lik­ing to some­one, seem­ingly with­out rea­son? Or been so cer­tain about an an­swer on a TV game show you’ve shouted it at your TV – even though you don’t ‘re­ally’ know. If some­one were to ask why you found some­thing about that stranger to be ‘off’, or how you knew that ob­scure fact on How to be a Mil­lion­aire, you’d prob­a­bly just give a shrug and an ‘I just know’. That’s your in­tu­ition talk­ing, and de­spite be­ing widely con­sid­ered as either a lit­tle bit mag­i­cal or kind of friv­o­lous, it’s ac­tu­ally formed by your past ex­pe­ri­ences and knowl­edge. So while re­ly­ing on your gut feel­ings doesn’t al­ways guar­an­tee good out­comes, it’s not nearly as whim­si­cal a strat­egy as it may seem.

What is in­tu­ition?

In­tu­itions, hunches or gut feel­ings are strong, sud­den judge­ments that seem to ma­te­ri­alise from nowhere, but are ac­tu­ally based on ex­ter­nal per­cep­tions – a tone of voice, a per­son’s smile, some­thing that passes so quickly you aren’t even aware you no­ticed it. They’re su­per-fast, un­con­scious pro­cesses of con­densed rea­son­ing that make use of the short­cuts built into your brain.

Your me­mory, thoughts and at­ti­tude are a lit­tle bit like an ice­berg – the ‘tip’ of the pro­cesses you’re con­sciously aware of are re­ferred to as the con­scious, or de­lib­er­ate. The hid­den bulk of the ice­berg is the sec­ond layer of pro­cess­ing, called the un­con­scious, or au­to­matic. Down be­low the con­scious pro­cesses of your mind, you know more than you know. While your con­scious mind may think you’re ruled by its log­i­cally formed in­ten­tions and de­lib­er­ate choices, a lot of what you do ac­tu­ally orig­i­nates from your au­to­matic, un­con­scious pro­cesses. Take speak­ing, for ex­am­ple – words flow ef­fort­lessly from your mouth, or­der­ing them­selves into sen­tences and speeches with cor­rectly placed in­to­na­tion. You don’t con­sciously or de­lib­er­ately ar­range each word be­fore you say it – it hap­pens au­to­mat­i­cally, based on years of knowl­edge and ex­pe­ri­ence. In­tu­ition is sim­i­lar – it’s a kind of non­con­scious think­ing hap­pen­ing out­side your aware­ness.

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