Are You Ignoring Your Intuition?

Call it “intuition”. Call it a “hunch”. We all have them, and yet in a business-like setting, we feel somewhat urged by internal and external forces to ignore that nagging gut-feeling that we have and instead trust other “proven” information, such as statistical data and case studies. But should we really be ignoring our intuition?

More Than Just A Guess

Many of us have been taught to believe that our intuition is simply a guess that we’ve randomly plucked from the sky, but science indicates that there’s a whole lot more to it than that.

The amount of information that our eyes and our brains register about what’s happening around us is far greater than what we consciously comprehend. A normal conversation with a friend, for example, goes beyond just the words being spoken. We’re also tuned into the verbal cues (word choice, intonation) and the non-verbal cues (body language, changes in facial expressions).

Over time, it’s suspected that our minds are able to remember certain patterns of behaviour that tell us when to take action, as well as what sort of action to take.

Intuition Breeds Profitable Creativity

It’s a well-known fact that the most creative and visceral businesses are those that make a lasting impression in their industry and beyond. When an individual so fully and completely understands their industry or their target market (particularly if they could regard themselves as being part of that target market) this is where intuition, combined with data-driven analysis, can prove to be the most effective.

Let’s take LinkedIn, for example. The “People You May Know” feature that can be found on this social media giant was created by Jonathan Goldman on a hunch that he thought people may want to know what their former classmates and colleagues were doing. According to Goldman, he was simply “playing with ideas about how to help people build their networks”. But consider the fact that this is often the reason why anyone bothers to attend their high school reunion, and that several television shows and movies have been based around this topic alone.

How To Develop Your Intuition

Given just how often we’re repeatedly told to focus on the results rather than trust our gut, it can be difficult to develop our intuition. However, there are a few things you can do today to start building it:

1. Stop Ignoring Your Instincts

As difficult as this may be, rather than ignore what your gut tells you, go with it. See what happens and where it takes you. If you have a positive result, then you’ll be able to affirm that your intuition can make a good judgment call. If it ends up being a less than stellar result, list all of the cues and occurrences that you can recall to determine how and when things went wrong.

2. Keep A Journal

Keeping a journal is a great way to affirm your intuitive feelings, and to document any times when your intuition may have possibly failed you. Chances are that when looking back at the event in your journal, you’ll be able to pinpoint exactly why your intuition “failed” you and how you can avoid such instances in the future.

3. Visualise Future Events

Sit back and start visualising! Close your eyes and try to conjure as much detail as possible when imaging what will happen at a future team meeting or group get together. Get comfortable with your surroundings. See the faces of the individuals and note their reactions. Imagining yourself in this setting won’t only help you trust your gut, but it can significantly improve your performance.

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