We tend to place less and less importance on our own personal intuition, instead relying on logic and reasoning in our daily lives. For day to day functionality logic and reason definitely is the way to go as intuition and feelings aren’t too well known for long term planning, but intuition should still play a part in our daily lives.
Intuition is often mistaken for wishful thinking or just emotional judgement. Carl Jung a pioneer of modern psychology in the early twentieth century described intuition as an “irrational function” of the ego relying on feelings more than logic. Intuition and following a hunch is often considered an irrational action as there is no basis of proof or reasoning behind it. However, intuition or ego based thought processes are still based on knowledge and experience. It just happens so quickly that we do not input the superego into the equation.
“Intuition is the key to everything, in painting, filmmaking, business – everything. I think you could have an intellectual ability, but if you can sharpen your intuition, which they say is emotion and intellect joining together, then a knowingness occurs.”
Intuition while it tends to follow emotions is however based on experiences that are remembered and unremembered. While our senses are active our conscious minds only process a fraction of the information, usually what is based on importance and survival. In many cases our minds only process the information that we want to, but the other data points still remain in our subconscious. Even though we may not consciously process that information it is still there as data for the rest of our subconscious minds to analyze and process.
Intuition is most likely an evolutionary process and an extension of reflexive action. Reflexive action is based on stimuli and action. Whether it be a bump to the knee that causes our leg to jerk or the sudden rise in adrenaline and attention at the sound of a loud noise. Intuition expands those basic reactions by creating a sudden urge or impulse based on learned experiences.
In many cases we’ve all experienced what happens when we go against our intuition, or that crazy feeling. We trusted people that we instinctive knew that we shouldn’t because it seemed irrational and later on regretted not following our intuition. We’ve lost out on opportunities that felt right, but seemed wrong. In all of those cases our intuition, the collection of facts and experiences in our subconscious minds is ignored. Just as often we feel regret for not following our intuition and rationalizing ourselves out of a difficult decision.
That doesn’t mean intuition is always right, as there are always exceptions to every rule, but following that gut feeling can generally lead to greater rewards as in many cases following intuition is following a greater risk.
At Yale University in the 70’s a study of intuitive skills showed that for certain intuitive people their sense of intuition was just as accurate without any other information. By only nonverbal facial cues they were able to come to the same conclusion in a much shorter time without anything needing to be said when compared to more rational students who were able to come to the same conclusion only with added information and more time to process the information.
Intuition however is not an issue of wishful thinking. You may purchase a lottery ticket with a gut feeling that you’ll win but it is merely wishful thinking as there is no data for your mind to intuit from. Intuition mainly applies to circumstances where your mind is processing information faster than you can give conscious thought to it, whether it be your gut feelings about a person or relationship, or your intuition on a certain idea.
“The only real valuable thing is intuition.”
Intuition is not a talent or skill based on pure emotion or desire, but based on your brain simply being able to process data than your mind and giving you a rapid fire answer. It is based on pattern recognition and picking up on cues that we normally don’t focus on or realize exist, whether they be certain facial cues in a person, body language or the intonation of their voice. Through our experiences we have seen different combinations of the three thousands of times and also have seen the outcome. While our conscious minds tend to focus more on the words said than the cues given our subconscious mind is able to pick up on cues and hints that were always available to us and can give us a general knowledge of what will happen next based on past experience.
In making decisions on complex issues such as what major to study in college, what car or house to buy and even who to date, studies have shown that the intuitive or gut choice in most cases leads to people being more satisfied with their decision in the long run. Taking the standard route of a pros and cons list when making a big decision doesn’t take into account what is most important to you. In the long run one good reason tends to nullify a hundred other ones.