When I started my mid-life awakening in October 2021, I remember receiving two standout pieces of advice:
- “Carve out time in your diary to think,” said Dan Stanley.
- “All the answers you need are inside your head; you just need to be quiet enough to hear them,” said Jonathan Edwards.
Wow, Looking back, how spot-on these guys were.
These gentlemen are pointing towards intuition. You might call it a hunch, a gut feeling or that feeling inside that you intuitively know what to do and what direction to take. But intuition can get lost in the busyness of life.
It also takes confidence to trust your intuition, especially if you need to get used to it. Marsha Sinetar, in the book ‘Do what you love, and the money will follow’, refers to the inner confidence and self-esteem required to listen to and trust your inner voice.
“… how to listen to one’s own self and hear one’s own inner voice over the din and clatter of experts, society’s expectations and media hype. It is this inner listening that is necessary if one wants to follow “the way of the heart” to the work that is most enjoyable, most fulfilling.”
When I think of my own experience of intuition and acting on my inbuilt knowledge, my free time in the calendar to think becomes a competitive advantage.
Contrary to the hustle, sleep when you’re dead, lunch is for wimps culture. Free time allows you to think and truly harness your intuition.
What is Intuition?
Intuition comes from your subconscious, the part of your brain that operates below conscious awareness. It occurs when you instinctively understand something without thinking about it. It draws upon your past experiences, emotions, and unconscious knowledge to help you make decisions. Its power is vast, said to be 95% of the brain’s capacity.
Thinking about it, I think I’ve relied upon intuition quite often throughout my career, especially when it comes to entrepreneurship. Sometimes you have to take a punt on something, take a calculated risk, and act when you don’t have perfect information.
It’s powerful, so how do you tap into it more often?
How to Hone Intuition
Here are a few ways to hone your intuition:
- Practice mindfulness: Mindfulness helps you become more aware of your thoughts, feelings, and surroundings. It can help you tune into your intuition and identify patterns or insights that may be useful. For me, it’s meditation—my secret weapon to gain clarity and calm in a busy world. But mindfulness comes in many forms.
- Pay attention to your body: Your body often gives signals or clues about what your intuition is telling you. For example, when deciding, you might feel a fluttering sensation in your stomach or a tightening in your chest. Learn to recognise these physical sensations and what they might mean.
- Keep a journal: This is like a direct feed into your subconscious. Writing down your thoughts and experiences can help you identify patterns and themes that emerge over time. It can also help you track your intuition and how it influences your decisions.
- Take time for solitude: Spending time alone can help you tune out external distractions and focus on your inner thoughts and feelings. This can be a valuable way to tap into your intuition and gain clarity on important decisions. I can’t live without this. Strolling in the countryside with the dog is my recharge.
- Practice listening: You must be an excellent listener to hone your intuition. Listen to your inner voice and the feedback you get from others. Pay attention to your instincts and intuition, and trust your gut feelings.
Why is listening to intuition important?
Listening to intuition can be important for several reasons:
- Faster decision-making: Intuition can provide us with quick insights and immediate responses without the need for lengthy analysis or deliberation. Useful in situations where we need to make a decision quickly.
- Access to subconscious knowledge: Our intuition is often based on knowledge and experiences stored in our subconscious mind. By tapping into our intuition, we can use this knowledge to inform our decisions.
- Increased creativity: Intuition can help us think outside the box and generate new ideas that we may not have considered otherwise. Particularly useful in creative or innovative fields.
- Improved self-awareness: Listening to our intuition can help us become more aware of our needs, desires, and values. It can also help us identify our strengths and weaknesses.
- Better decision-making: Intuition can help us make decisions that align with our values and goals and feel suitable for us on a deep level. By balancing our intuition with rational analysis and critical thinking, we can make informed decisions more likely to lead to positive outcomes.
What inhibits intuition?
Finally, if we are to tap into our intuition more often and listen to our inner voice, what things do we need to be wary of that inhibit intuition?
- Stress: High-stress levels can interfere with intuition by activating the body’s fight or flight response and increasing cognitive load, making it harder to focus and access intuitive insights.
- Fear and anxiety: Fear and anxiety can also inhibit intuition by activating the brain’s fear centre (The amygdala or lizard brain) and shifting attention away from intuitive signals.
- Negative beliefs: Negative beliefs and attitudes can create cognitive biases that prevent us from seeing the world clearly and can block intuitive insights.
- Overthinking: Overthinking a situation can prevent intuition by activating the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for conscious reasoning and reducing access to the subconscious mind.
- Lack of awareness: Ignoring or dismissing intuitive signals can lead to losing intuitive ability over time.
- Lack of self-care: Poor diet, lack of sleep, and other self-care issues can reduce brain function, including the ability to access intuition.
By addressing these factors and cultivating relaxation, openness, and mindfulness, we can create a conducive environment for intuition to arise and thrive.
What are your hacks for tapping into intuition?
Image Credit: https://openai.com/product/dall-e-2