Intuition and Instinct, our Friends
Say the word 'intuition,'
and some cringe. It sounds too new-age, too touchy feely.
Its close cousin instinct sounds animalistic.
Western culture tends to
denigrate information that comes to us through means other
than logic, reason and analysis.
Yet, intuition and instinct
can save us from hassle and heartache, lead us to happiness,
even save our lives.
Here's a real life example.
A number of years ago I was
driving in Manhattan on a Saturday night. The light was
green. I was crossing Second Avenue, when out of
the corner of my eye I saw a car approaching the intersection
from my left running his red light.
I had about a quarter of
a second before impact. There was no time for to think,
no time for fear. only time to act.
I gunned the gas.
My car was lifted into the
air, spinning as I was jerked around in a crazy carnival
The impact was on the left
side of the car. I was in the middle of the intersection
when I felt the impact.
I saw the driver's side window
dissolve. The impact was so great that when I landed,
the car was on the sidewalk facing into the street.
Its back lay just inches away from the traffic light.
My car was in ruins but the
seatbelt held firm. I walked out with nothing more than
a few minor scratches.
When I gunned the gas, my
car advanced just enough so the impact of the other vehicle
was to the rear passenger seat; not the driver's
seat where I was sitting.
That action saved me from,
at minimum, serious physical injury.
It was an action of sheer
instinct - coming from the “right side of the brain.”
From time to time we are
all called to make snap judgments, we have all gotten
a bad feeling about a person, a situation.
We've all uttered the phrase,
“I can't put my finger on it, but …” And more often than
not, later on, our apprehensions are confirmed by
That is our intuition talking.
So ... Are you listening?
Your ability to size up people
in a first impression is, in part, the result of your
taking in the person's body language, dress and
demeanor on an unconscious level. Although I think there
is more to it than that, the question of what makes up
intuition is beyond the scope of this article.
Nonetheless, intuition speaks
to us in many ways.
It can be the reaction of
your body to a person or a situation.
You tense up around threatening
You experience an uneasy
feeling in the pit of your stomach when you have to operate
in a situation where something is "not quite
right." Sure, it looks fine on the surface, but there's
more to the story than meets the eye.
Intuition works the other
way, too. Some people and places feel easy and comfortable.
We feel strong and recharged around them.
They are good for us. We
just accept it. We feel no need to question.
There are many applications
to the use of intuition in our personal and business lives.
We tend do well in settings and around people that
support our abilities and support us emotionally.
Your intuition can be a divining
rod leading you to those settings. By monitoring your
feelings, your reactions, your energy levels, you can
determine whether something or someone is good for you.
A feeling of uneasiness,
queasiness should serve as a red flag when, say taking
on a new client, a new project, a new partner, a
new job. Then it is time to call in your powers of logic,
observation and analysis to ferret out the reasons why
you are feeling this way.
More often than not, your
gut will warn you before you are able to see the landmine.
I suggest looking at intuition
and logic as two complementary ways of processing information.
If the two aren't pointing in the same direction,
more likely than not, you don't have all of the information.
Proceed with caution.
And when they do point the
same way, you can be confident that you on the right track.
Then it's full steam ahead.