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?
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.