What Is Intuition?
Intuition is simply a feeling , sense, or hunch based on information not available to your conscious mind. Some say this comes from the ether or wherever, but I'm content to believe that our minds have a lot more going on in there than we know.
How can Gary Kasparov win a chess game against a computer that can calculate positions many moves further ahead than he can? By using his intuitive grasp of the game. His experience allows him to combine analysis with a "sense" of which move is best.
Intuition can also warn us. My wife and I felt we shoudn't get on that bus in South America. We knew crowded busses were prime hunting grounds for pickpockets, and we saw the drunk man bumping into people. We didn't think about these things consciously, but they registered in our minds, and warned us. We ignored our intuition, and I was robbed.
Of course, you can have a hunch for irrelevant reasons too. If you were hit by a taxi as a child, you might have "intuitive" hunches not to get into taxis for the rest of your life. So how do you know when to trust your intuition?
Three Simple Steps To Better Intuition
- Watch for it. You'll have hunches and ideas more often. I bought a conversion van, and now I see them all over. Have you had a similar experience? The same process will happen if you watch for your intuition - you'll start to see more of it.
- Question it. If I had asked myself why I felt bad about that bus, I might have thought, "Oh yeah, crowded busses are a bad idea. I know that." Try to see in which areas your intuition works best, or not at all. If, for example, your hunches about people are always wrong, don't follow them.
- Give it good information. Your skill, knowledge and experience determine the potential effectiveness of your intuition. A weak chess player will never intuitively beat that computer. So learn enough about a subject, before you expect any good hunches. Remember the programmer's maxim: garbage in - garbage out.