Sometimes, you just gut feeling, right? Like when Archimedes had his “Eureka!” moment in the bath or when Gwyneth Paltrow realized her marriage was over on her birthday. These moments, driven by intuition, can be life-altering.
A History of Trusting Intuition
I used to live by these sudden realizations, running towards opportunities like there was no tomorrow. It’s hard to explain what intuition feels like—it’s instant, irrational, and almost impossible to put into words. It’s like knowing something without knowing why, and if you shared it with someone, they’d probably just give you a puzzled look.
Intuition in Action
My experiences with intuition ranged from knowing where I’d work based on a random classroom mention to having a fully formed book idea pop into my head. I’d even get it with small things, like thinking of a friend who’d then call me out of the blue.
The Disappearance of Intuition
About 10 months ago, my intuition disappeared. A year earlier, I’d followed my gut into a dream job, a new neighborhood, new friends, and what I thought was the love of my life. Life felt limitless. But then it all vanished, and with it, my intuition.
The Search for Intuition
I realized that if intuition is real, I could study it and try to bring it back.
Intuition is a fascinating concept with varying ideas about what it really is. While science and psychology don’t have a clear definition, they believe in its existence. Psychologist and neuroscientist Joel Pearson has offered a working definition: the learned use of conscious information to improve decisions or actions.
When to Trust Intuition
Pearson’s research shows that intuition can be incredibly useful in some situations but disastrous in others. He uses the acronym “Smile” to explain when to trust it:
S for Self-awareness: Don’t trust your intuition when you’re emotional.
M for Mastery: Intuition works best when you know about the area you’re being intuitive in.
I for Impulses: Cravings are not intuition; they’re impulses.
L for Low Probability: Don’t rely on intuition for things involving numbers or probabilities.
E for Environment: Only trust your intuition in familiar, predictable environments.
So, should you trust your sixth sense? Well, it can be a valuable guide, but like any tool, it needs to be used wisely and in the right circumstances.