Intuition Is the Key to Success
When you have a big question or an important decision to make, what do you do? Who do you turn to?
Many of us look outside of ourselves for answers: we Google, read books, get advice from family and friends or consult experts in the respective field.
We often neglect to turn to the most important authority: intuition.
But what exactly is intuition and how can one use it to find answers to key questions, and to achieve success in business and in other areas of life?
We’ve got the answers. This article will go over everything you need to know about intuition as it relates to business and entrepreneurship; and show you how to become a more intuitive business person.
Let’s get started.
What Exactly is Intuition?
Have you ever been thinking about someone constantly for no particular reason and then out of the blue, you bump into them or the phone rings and it is that person on the line?
Have you ever felt like someone is watching you and you turn around and see someone staring at you from a mile away? That is your intuition at work.
The cognitive sciences define:
“intuition as a way of distilling information via automatic, emotive and personal standards”
and yet, it is not the opposite of rationality.
According to Gerd Gigerenzer (of the Max Planck Institute for Human Development and author of Gut Feelings: The Intelligence of the Unconscious), intuition is also the ability to filter out unimportant information and discard of it. He says that he is both intuitive and rational:
“In my scientific work, I have hunches. I can’t explain always why I think a certain path is the right way, but I need to trust it and go ahead.
I also have the ability to check these hunches and find out what they are about. That’s the science part. Now, in private life, I rely on instinct. For instance, when I first met my wife, I didn’t do computations. Nor did she."
Intuition can also be defined as an accurate understanding of collective intelligence. For example, most websites are now designed in an intuitive and user friendly way.
That means that they are easier for people to use and navigate without much thought – they are instinctive to use.
Intuitive design evolved after many years of discord online as general knowledge emerged over what information was redundant and what was essential.
An intuitive website makes sense to a majority of people because they share common knowledge and understanding of the way it works.
We will explore more of how intuition works in the design process later on in this article.
Diligent Intuition versus Thoughtless Intuition
It is important to make the distinction between diligent intuition and thoughtless intuition.
Diligent intuition is when you probe, question, use your brain and share rational arguments. You can’t just sit in a chair and only use your intuition without intellect. It doesn’t work that way.
Whatever subject you’re tackling, you need to explore it in depth and examine the various possibilities. You are only exercising intelligence and rationality when your gut tells you what is important or unimportant to reach your desired outcomes.
This is the most trusted way to use intuition and is the one that successful business people use.
Thoughtless intuition is the exact opposite: when you trust your intuition without using your brain and share irrational arguments. It is not used by successful people and could more often than not, lead you down the wrong path.
The more you probe and explore a subject, the better your intuition works. Here's a video.
Video credit: Forbes
Intuition and Success from a Business Perspective
All entrepreneurs and successful business people have two things in common: they are deliberate and intuitive. They are of course business savvy as well and know what needs to be done to run a successful business.
They know the ins and outs of building large and strong communities and platforms; and how to create demand for their products and services.
Yet, if you ask any successful business person what they would never be successful without, they would tell you their instincts. Indeed, all that business savvy would never lead to success if intuition were lacking.
Successful people, in all areas of life, equally rely on their intuition as much as their business brains. They trust and follow their gut feelings and hunches that tell them whether or not to drop a project or proceed with it knowing that they are facing unbeatable odds.
As a business person or professional, at times, a corporate directive or your goal to create a desired outcome could steer your rational mind in the wrong direction. In that situation, intuition is the only thing you can grasp to steer you in the right direction.
You will most likely have a bad gut feeling and that is your intuition telling you that you are heading in the wrong direction, despite all your efforts and reasoning to take you in that direction.
Smart people pay attention to those gut feelings while the most astute business people cannot make an important decision without using that gut feeling.
They rely on instinct because they know that it always ascends strategy because it makes one cognizant of the unforeseen and guides one on how to deal with it.
Successful people also rely on intuition because they are acutely aware that the market favors authenticity, innovation and individuality.
Clout and novelty are only found in businesses that do things differently – in their own way. It is magnetic – it draws crowds because as humans, we desire something that is critically different. We like new things and new ways of doing things.
Intuition in Design
Let’s look at intuition from a design perspective. Designers provide solutions to daily problems which pushes them to make decisions that cannot always be rationally explained or understood.
In fact, there have been numerous studies in recent decades on understanding design that evokes or prevents certain experiences among users.
A user experience designer goes through numerous challenges on interpreting users’ bodily experiences without much awareness of the situation or the context in which they are perceived.
They have to go through a fragile dance from a rational perspective since their take on how to prompt particular experiences can be highly motivated by intuition.
In fact, all good designers have to use intuition consciously in the design process. However, their use of intentional intuiting complements rational thinking as opposed to excluding it; and also helps them to quantify design decision-making.
They have to know their true selves and easily tap into it in order to intentionally intuit.
So, we know that it is actually possible to train oneself to intentionally intuit, since designers do it all the time. But it is challenging, takes time, effort, and a lot of practice to master it.
The key to successfully intuiting intentionally lies in self-knowing and getting in the right state of mind. Which brings us to our next topic...
10 Tips to Strengthen Your Intuition
Here are 10 tips to strengthen your intuition, to intentionally intuit, and to use your intuition effectively in business and in life.
The power of meditation has been well-known for centuries. Almost all successful business people meditate daily.
That is because meditation quiets the mind and creates inner calm and clarity. It also creates harmony between the right and left brain hemispheres so that you can effectively use both the rational and intuitive parts of your brain.
The more mindful you are, the better you can listen to your intuition since you are more aware of your body’s signals.
Mindfulness also makes you act on your intuition faster. It eliminates the stress of having to think of the “what next” and what could’ve been.
2. Listen to Your Intuition
You may, naturally, find it difficult to listen to your instinct and follow it.
A lot of people, intentionally or unintentionally, stop paying mind to their intuition but find that if they listen carefully, are willing to pay attention to it, and give it more power; that it is indeed there and very much willing to guide them.
3. Pay Attention to Your Gut
You should always pay close attention to your gut feeling, even if it seems irrational to do so. That is your intuition alerting you that there is an unforeseen event or thing that is going to turn everything on its head for you.
There are many signals that your intuition is trying to tell you something. From nagging thoughts to feelings of anxiety, doubt, wonder or curiosity – your body gives out signals like goosebumps to inspire or tell you when something is off.
Open and free gut feelings usually mean that you’re on the right track while closed and uncomfortable gut feelings usually mean that you’re on the wrong track.
You should develop a habit of checking in with yourself and asking yourself, “Does this feel right?” or “Does this feel wrong?”
4. Listen to Your Intuition Daily
On the same note, listen to your intuition daily. Your life is undoubtedly busy with overflowing daily to-do lists so it is easy to forget to stop and access your higher intelligence.
However, most of your invaluable wisdom comes when you are open to receiving it.
That is why you should devote time every day to consciously tap into that higher intelligence and give it center stage. This is particularly important to do during a period when you need to make important decisions.
Just take some time to consciously give your intuition center stage and look inside of yourself for answers before you decide on which path to take.
Your intuition is always there and willing to help you succeed. Once you start working with it regularly, you will be surprised about how quickly you become a successful business person or professional.
5. Listen to Your Body’s Cues
The cues that your body gives you could be a signal from your unconscious or your intuition guiding you.
If you have butterflies in your stomach, a burning sensation in your chest, goosebumps, etc.; those are cues from your body that your intuition is guiding you.
Perhaps you have seen the same book title more than three times in a row or a song that is playing in your mind repeatedly.
Or perhaps you watched a movie and you feel like the main character is speaking directly to you.
Listen to that and follow it. You might be onto something life changing or on the next step in achieving your vision.
6. Give Weight to Your Dreams
Your subconscious is where your truest and highest self resides. It manifests itself in dreams and visions, so to speak.
Image credit: Huffington Post
A lot of people rely on their dreams for answers to their most puzzling questions and some even keep a pen and paper by their bedside to record their dreams.
You will become more intuitive when you give more weight to your dreams and learn to interpret the symbols and emotions from it.
7. Write, Write, and Write More
Intuitive messages are very subtle and fade away from the unconscious mind very quickly, unless you record them.
Neuroscience research shows that intuitive insights not recorded within 37 seconds are unlikely to be recalled again.
Writing a journal is a very effective way to tap into your intuition and capture the useful insights it gives. Aim to journal at least five or ten minutes each day and you will be amazed at the insights you can capture with such clarity.
8. Act Immediately
Your intuition rewards you when you act on it.
It widens the channel between your subconscious and conscious mind; and you will consequently receive more intuitive messages that are stronger and easier for you to listen to and act on.
9. Trust Yourself
The more faith you have in your intuition, the greater the results you will achieve.
When you tune into your intuition and listen to what it has to say, you will make better decisions and solve problems faster.
All you need to do is trust yourself, and the more you trust yourself, the more successful you will become.
10. Follow Your Vision
Your vision is your legacy – your purpose and your “why”.
When you map out a complete vision for your life (your business, your career and your life), you can use it as a roadmap for years to come; and your intuition will guide you on that journey.
It will show you what aligns with that vision and what doesn’t.
The most successful business people have hailed intuition as the reason for their success. Steve Jobs once said that intuition is more powerful than the intellect and Einstein called it a sacred gift.
Indeed, some of the most iconic partnerships, products and theories were born from intuition.
The more you exercise that sixth sense that every individual is born with, the more successful you will be. You can increase your efficiency and avoid calamities before they arise.
Indeed, there is so much activity going on in the world, right beneath the surface. It is up to you to unearth it to find the answers you never thought of.
Just tune into the little details and listen to that small but powerful voice inside you.
If you’re still not convinced, here is a little exercise for you: start following the tips provided in this article to dial up that small voice inside you and watch the magic happen.
Things that had previously seemed elusive will manifest themselves as opportunities for you. You will be able to make faster decisions and gain more confidence in both your business and personal life.