Introducing guest writer Susan
Dunn, MA - One of my favorite online writers!
by Susan Dunn, MA
is beginning to emerge from obscurity and gain legitimacy. A natural mental
faculty, a key element in the creative process, a means of discovery,
problem solving, and decision making, it's no longer considered the province
of a gifted few.
Intuition is an EQ competency. That is, it is considered something necessary
to successful living, and something to be respected and valued. In recent
years it has emerged from obscurity, even suspicion--at one time it was even
known as "feminine intuition." What exactly is intuition?
According to Merriam-Webster:
1 : quick and ready insight
2 a : immediate apprehension or cognition b : knowledge or conviction gained
by intuition c : the power or faculty of attaining to direct knowledge or
cognition without evident rational thought and inference (www.m-w.com)
According to Intuition magazine online, “intuition is increasingly
recognized as a natural mental faculty, a key element in the creative
process, a means of discovery, problem solving, and decision making. Once
considered the province of a gifted few, it is now recognized as an innate
capacity available to everyone--not a rare, accidental talent, but a natural
skill anyone can cultivate.”
Remember those math problems you got the correct answer for, but you
didn’t get full credit because you couldn’t show your work? Intuition,
Intuition magazine says, “is a key ingredient in what we call genius, and
it is also an important tool when applied to everyday life.”
That having been said, from where does this almost mystical ability come?
In their amazing book, A General Theory of Love, authors Lewis, Amini and
Lannon, all doctors, agree that all of us acquire wonderfully complicated
knowledge that we cannot describe, explain, or recognize.
They cite researchers Knowlton, Mangels and Squire, who devised an
interesting experiment – they gave subjects the task of predicting the
weather in a simple computer model. They designed the experiment so that as
unhelpful as the cues looked, they did relate lawfully to the outcomes, but
the relationship between cues and effects was deliberately such a complex
and probabilistic function that even the smartest person couldn’t figure
it out. It was way too difficult for logic to unravel; that is, subjects
would have to approach this task without the use of the neocortex.
The researchers were right. No one figured it out, but that didn’t stop
them from getting better at the system they couldn’t understand or
describe! After just 50 trials, the average subject was right 70% of the
time, which means, of course, that some were doing far better than that.
What they were doing was gradually developing a feel for the situation and
intuitively grasping the essence of what was going on.
We tend to believe that success can only come from understanding (via the
neocortex), but in reality our marvelous brains, when presented with
repetitive experiences, are able to extract unconsciously the rules that
underlie them. “Such knowledge,” say Lewis, Amini, and Lannon,
“develops with languorous ease and inevitability, stubbornly
inexpressibly, never destined for translation into words.” Words being a
Things we can’t describe, but we "know," come from our implicit
memory. Our implicit memory ensures that “camouflaged learning”
permeates out lives. Spoken language, for instance, is a confusing
assortment of phonological and grammatical rules that we couldn’t possibly
describe, yet we all learn to speak our native tongue. In fact, children are
able to learn it without any formal instruction at all.
The advantages of intuition? It’s much quicker – and also surer – to
use your intuition. You have a greater grasp on reality, as it were, when
you don’t confuse things by bringing in the neocortex. "Reason,"
said Pascal, “is the slow and tortuous method by which those who do not
know the truth discover it.”
“There is guidance available to us at all times,” says Penny Peirce,
“just below the surface of our logic, just after we stop pushing and
striving, just before we jump to conclusions. By cultivating the ability to
pause and be comfortable with silence, and then by focusing steadily and
listening for the first sounds or feelings, for the first impressions, you
can help your intuition wake up suddenly and enthusiastically, as if from a
long winter’s nap.”
How do you develop your intuition? One way is to learn to still your
self-talk, what I refer to as “the Talking Head” – that constant
yammering that goes on inside your head. Get centered. Quiet your thinking
mind. Slow down and focus on one thing at a time. Listen. Practice.
“Although intuition is a natural resource,” says Nancy Rosanoff, an
intuition trainer, “it functions best when developed and exercised. Like a
muscle, intuition becomes strong, reliable, and precise when trained and put
to use. But because our culture stresses the importance of analytic
thinking, we often forget we have this inner source of wisdom and
Every time you say "I KNEW I shouldn't have done that," you're
actually saying, "I could've used my intuition and I didn't."
Trace back from those times and try and figure what signals you were getting
that you ignored. We're like the hapless hero of the old V-8 Juice ad who
So what’s the buzz about intuition? It’s coming into its own. It’s
getting legitimate. Corporations are even hiring intuitionists to make
decisions. I say it’s about time, because it’s a much surer way to make
a decision than are logic and reason; an important decision that is. How
much data would be too much to know about the woman you’re going to be
leaving your baby with all day? About the man you’re considering marrying?
At some point the data ends, and you leap off the cliff and make your wings
on the way down. Do you doubt this? Oliver Wendell Holmes, Chief Justice of
the Supreme Court, said that 90% of the decisions at his level were
emotional. He just rationalized them afterwards. As we all have done.
“In small matters, use the head,” said Freud, “and in large matters,
Dunn, M.A. is a personal life coach who helps her clients succeed by
developing their emotional intelligence, understanding their strengths
better, and doing the inner work. You can visit her on the web at http://www.susandunn.cc
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instincts usually tell you what to do long before your
head has figured it out."
specific problem with me is that if I do something wrong then
I say to myself, "you are the worst"
but when I see anybody else committing the same mistake I then
say to myself, "Oh... no, this is not that big a
mistake." Others are also making this
mistake. I mean that I think about all the things
which belong to me to be inferior because they belong to me,
but if I see a similar or even worse thing with someone else
then it gives me the impression that's quite good.
suggest me something
bring up an interesting point within the context of
depression. In the USA we have a saying about having
"double standards." This is where I hold you
to a higher level of accountability, while not performing to
that same level myself. In other words, it's hypocrisy.
depression this double standard is often reversed.
Depressed individuals struggle with what is termed as
"thought distortions" and inappropriate amounts of
guilt and shame. Your own behavior becomes grounds for
personal persecution, while you are loving and more accepting
of the exact same behavior in others. You might say you
suffer from "Reverse Hypocrisy!" I'm joking a
bit here... well, sort of.
news is that you have the insight to realize that you treat
yourself unfairly. Your challenge is to fight back
against those persecuting thoughts, as soon as you recognize
they're there! Ask yourself in situations where you are
giving yourself a mental beating, "How would I treat my
friend if I were to see him make this same
mistake?" And, work towards treating yourself in a
not your mistakes, though you will make plenty of them and
they may lead you to great learning and wisdom if addressed in
a fair manner.
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