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Tune the Dial to Intuition
the ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning.
Intuition is the second part of the Creative Genius equation. It is the innate ability you have that helps you to know with certainty what is right for you. It’s a subtle voice, a nudge coming inside that is guided by with universal knowing. It’s most obvious when you are about to do something you might regret. When you share some gossip, for example, and you feel a tiny break in your words. Suddenly you close your mouth. Or when you’re driving home and decide to take a different route only to find that you’ve just missed getting caught in a big traffic jam. Most people find that the more they go with their intuitive sense the more magical synchronicity they experience.
Intuition is a sensory knowing that happens instinctively. For some people it’s something they feel, for others it’s something they hear. When people describe how their intuition somehow led them, they often say “I just knew.” While some people regard intuition as weird and unreliable, it's actually grounded in information gleaned from past experiences – a mashup of knowledge and wisdom. It’s your brain on autopilot, processing information outside of your conscious awareness. It’s the state of subconscious being and like your imagination, intuition can be focused and fine-tuned for greater reliability.
In studies about food choices, when people were asked to use their intuition when making a choice, they made better decisions about which food would be better for them. In another study conducted by psychological scientists Galang Lufityanto, Chris Donkin, and Joel Pearson they discovered that intuition was measurable, and when developed, could help employees make better choices when dealing with clients.
Intuition is a key part of what I think of as your Creative Genius Super Power. It relies on billions of bits of information stored in our brain to generate guidance, and sometimes warnings.
A friend was living in Thailand in 2004. One morning as he headed out to walk his dog, he suddenly got a strong nudge that he should take the trail up the mountain instead of his usual beach walk. A short time later a powerful tsunami hit the west side of Thailand covering the beaches with a monumental wall of water that swallowed everything. Had he not followed his intuitive nudge that urged him to do things differently, he and his dog would have been dragged into the ocean.
Though we may struggle to understand exactly what it is, no one can deny the huge role it plays in our everyday lives. Intuition is a quiet inner voice that is constantly sending you messages and it's always operating in your best interest. Steve Jobs famously called intuition “more powerful than intellect.” Even Albert Einstein credited intuition as our most valuable asset, and one of our most unused senses.
It’s a “feeling for the order lying behind the appearance of something.”
Call it what you will - gut feeling, sixth sense, innate wisdom, inner voice – it’s an integral factor in developing your Creative Genius, helping you sort and sift when making decisions or developing new ideas.
In her book, Thrive, Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington writes:
Even when we’re not at a fork in the road, wondering what to do and trying to hear that inner voice, our intuition is always there, always reading the situation, always trying to steer us the right way. But can we hear it? Are we paying attention? Are we living a life that keeps the pathway to our intuition unblocked? Feeding and nurturing our intuition, and living a life in which we can make use of its wisdom, is one key way to thrive, at work and in life.”
While it may be happening all the time, it’s enhanced when we are in an alpha or relaxed state of inquiry, as opposed to when we are operating in a beta state of mind where we manage everyday worries at a frenzied pace. Enhancing your intuition and strengthening your capacity to trust your intuition can be a fantastic and magical experience. Yes, I did say magical, because that is where the unexpected happens, in those magical moments where amazing and cool things happen out of the blue..
How to Turn Up the Volume on Your Intuition
There are many methods to building your intuition, but here are three of the simplest things you can do.
1. Open the lines of communication with your intuition by asking a question or asking for a sign. You can write it down on a piece of paper or simply ask it inside yourself or if you are alone, say it out loud. I find that writing it down and carrying it around with me helps me remember what the heck I asked my intuition to help me with.
2. Pay attention to any guidance or nudges you feel. They might be physical sensations, or some other very tangible way. It might be a road sign you pass or words in a song. It might be as simple as someone giving you a piece of advice in the grocery store or talking about something that has nothing to do with what you are working on, but their words, for some reason, seem to stand out and relate to your question or request.
3. Practice acting on what you think your intuition is guiding you to do and see what happens.
Put your asking to work in your everyday life. Start with something simple like,
Where we should go for dinner tonight?
Then listen for a subtle tug in one direction or another. Intuitive knowing starts with raising your awareness to what is already occurring. Ask first, then test out what or where you are being guided to do. Sometimes you might get an urge to call someone on the phone or send someone an email. If they say something like,
“I was just thinking about you.”
Or maybe they really needed to talk to someone and you were that person. Training yourself to follow through on subtle intuitive clues increases awareness and builds your confidence. Intuition is the gateway to the subtle seemingly “coincidental” things that happen. You might want to keep a journal to track when you relied on your intuition, and what happened next so you can see the patterns that emerge. You may be surprised by what you’ll see!
Daniel Kahneman, Ph.D, received the Nobel Prize in Economics for his research on the use of intuition versus rational thought and its impact on economic decision-making. He found that unconscious thought processes powerfully determine many aspects of our life, from how we perceive and react to other people to how we make decisions.. Your Creative Genius relies on these nudges to help guide you to the best possible outcome for every decision you make.
In my previous book, Drawing Solutions, I walked through my mapping process to help individuals, teams, and businesses make change. Those that found the most success were people who called on their intuition to help them create what I refer to as the ‘3 Bold Steps’ that would help them get off their butts to bridge the gap between where they were and where they wanted to be. They used one of the following signs to determine what the biggest and boldest steps should be.
A gut feeling or emotional response
An inner voice that made a suggestion
A physical sensation (a tug at their heart or tightening in their 3rd eye between the eyebrows)
And instant knowing for what to do. “I just knew this was the right step.”
Developing your intuition will build your self-confidence. It shows you that you’re capable of knowing what’s right for you. When you act on your intuition, you increase the frequency of insights that are capable of easing anxiety and self-doubt, two big obstacles for creativity and problem solving.
This week, your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to open up the lines of communication between you and your intuition.
Try one of the ways I suggest to turn up its volume…
Ask a question or ask for a sign. You can write it down on a piece of paper or simply ask it inside yourself or if you are alone, say it out loud. That question could be as simple as “Which road do I take?” or as deep as “Should I start a new business?”
Pay attention to the guidance you get, I encourage you to write down what you get if it’s a more complex question. This will help you track how and what kind of guidance your intuition gives you.
Act on the guidance and see what happens.
Yay you! Let’s do this! I can’t wait to see you next week and find out what you have been learning…until then,