What is intuition?
Humans have evolved to dominate the earth and as the superior most species in its kingdom due to their ability to learn from their environment. Adaptation to the diverse environments of planet Earth can wholly be attributed to the fact that humans learned behaviors and patterns that allowed them to inhabit the land, use the air and conquer the seas. This learning developed three of the two levels of our mind: The conscious and the unconscious.
It would not be wrong to refer to our unconscious as our ‘’autopilot’’ mode: a means of survival that shapes our actions and reactions by scanning through our lifelong experiences without any voluntary control. This sifting of our brains through our memories, experiences and thoughts forms what is known as our intuition. In layman terms, it is called our gut feeling, hunch or sixth sense. For most successful people, their intuition happens to be their main driving force. Recent researches have shown that about 81 percent of the world’s finest professionals and leaders will tap into their unconscious for guidance during trying times.
How is it different from intelligence or knowing?
Intuition and intellect, both are types of learned behaviors that are sharpened and molded over time by our experiences. Intellect is formed by profound thinking about a certain matter. It isn’t as quick as intuition. Judgment, rationalizing and conceptualizing are some of the long lists of processes that the brain has to undertake to concoct intelligence. Man has to intentionally learn and pay attention for its formation.
On the other hand, intuition has more to do with past experiences, emotions, memories and perceptions. The brain unconsciously forms our inkling that comes into play under circumstances where intellect will be too time-consuming to be put to use. It comes in waves of emotions about peculiar things that we face in life. Intuition helps us discern between right and wrong. When you think to yourself that something doesn’t feel right, it is merely your intuition coming into play.
What did Gerd Gigerenzer, Theo Humphries, and Albert Einstein have to say about intuition?
Intuition is no make-believe concept. Some of the most famous personalities have relied on it to reach great heights of success. Below are three notable quotes about intuition:
‘’The Intelligence of the Unconscious, 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." - Gerd Gigerenzer
He comments about intuition as a form of intellect that is ‘’understandable without the use of instructions."
‘’The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift."
Is intuition the highest form of intelligence? How so?
Think of intuition as your guiding map to the chaotic city called intelligence. The human brain is able to save a lot of information in itself, which comprises both of things that are useful, and other items that have merely been placed into it without ever being used or coming into handy. Navigating through everything that our brains know and have learned under stressful, time-restricted situations can lead to disaster.
Look at the stock market, for instance. CEOs of large companies have to be on the look-out for favourable changes in the market each minute of the day because their profits depend on them. If they unfortunately miss those few seconds of changes, they can lose millions of dollars! This is where their intuition comes in to play. Any deal, change or offer that feels right to them as per their hunch guides them in to that area of their intellect which will be most beneficial in weighing the pros and cons of their next move.
Intuition’s preceding roles in our lives makes it the higher form of intelligence that is free from the need of rational processing and is built-up of the entirety of the things that we have experienced throughout our life, making it a reliable neurological feature.
However, it would be irresponsible of us to sit back and let our intuition do all the work without making use of intelligence. To make the best out of the gut feeling, it is better to let it triage information for our brain to make thinking and arriving at a decision efficient. Desperate times don’t always need desperate measures; they need our unconscious to take the steering wheel.
How do we know if we can trust our intuition?
If there were ever to be a human analogue for AI, it wouldn’t be our intelligence; it would be our intuition. The latter is quick and effective. As stated earlier, we cannot rely solely on our gut feeling. Here are some of the cues that will help you assess if you should really be listening to those neurological whispers or not:
1. The time on your clock coincides with the clock
Do you ever find yourself guessing the time only to see the clock showing the same digits? This is a tell-tale sign of your intuition being stronger than that of an average human. This is because your brain has been trained to look for the subtle signs around you, such as the change in light, the level of the sun, the change in the activity of people and things around you to the point that you can do away with the clock. Your unconscious will whisper to you the accurate time, immediately!
2. You can pick energies
If you are able to gauge the mood of the people around you and the aura of the conditions you have been placed in, you may be more sensitive than others to the energies emitted by your surroundings. This enhanced perception sharpens the unconscious and helps reinforce your intuition.
3. You are generally an empathetic person
Empaths have stronger intuitions because of their heightened sensitivity to another’s suffering. You can feel that there is something off about the people around you if they are under the cloud. If this is the case with you, you can easily trust your gut feeling.
4. You are kind to yourself
Being wary of the way your body and mind feel is a sign of someone whose intuition can be trusted. You do not wait for exhaustion to knock you out, you love yourself enough to give in to the feeling of tedium the moment it overcomes you. There is nothing wrong with it. The ability to feel is what intuition is all about.
5. Calling someone the moment they call you
Thinking about calling someone and getting a call from them at the same time is a major jinx moment! If this has happened with you a couple of times in a row, especially with your loved ones, this is your intuition communicating with you. You can rely on it anytime the need arises.
6. Having a lot of dreams
This might sound like an episode of That’s So Raven, but having dreams about people and situations is your intuition making an effort to help you see things that intellect will otherwise ignore. It is important to understand that the unconscious mind operates on the basic tenets of humanity and is more active in the empathetic. The gut becomes stronger if the dreams that you clearly remember have come true a number of times. If this is the case, bravo! Your intuition can be trusted without an ounce of doubt.
7. You make a lot of changes in your life
Leaving people, situations and jobs often the moment they feel undeserving of your efforts is a potent sign of a highly active and dependable intuition as your nature alarms you about circumstances that no longer make you happy.
Intuition is your best friend in fight or flight situations or where logical reasoning can be very time demanding and confusing. Feeling something about a situation can guide your decision almost instantaneously.