What You Don’t Know About Intuition Can Hurt You ~ Nir and Far blog
The above post started a conversation among a few of my Twitter pals last week. The post’s basic theme was that intuition is dangerous. Why? Because it can send us off in poor business directions based on what we wrongly intuit.
Although I agree that its case studies are examples of leaders jumping to (wrong) conclusions, I had a simple problem with the post. You see, the examples weren’t about intuition – they were about assumptions.
Assumptions Aren’t Intuition
Assumptions are based on what we already know or what we’ve experienced in the past. Assumptions often create gravity in our business. Assumptions create weight and drag in our businesses as they lead us to believe that the status quo of yesterday’s experience applies to today and tomorrow’s situations. Assumptions are not about intuition.
For example, one story in the post above discussed an exec who saw people standing in line to buy a product, so he assumed there was big demand for that item. The article equated this behavior with “intuition”. I don’t see it that way. I see the exec’s knee jerk reaction as an assumption. His reaction was a response to a learned business belief; when people stand in line it must mean there is big demand so we need to respond to that demand. That’s not intuition in my world – that’s a status quo/gravity-based assumption.
The second story features leaders describing the best ways to motivative their new employees. Turns out their ideas weren’t what the employees wanted. These leaders’ ideas for motivation didn’t come from their intuition. The ideas were assumptions based on previous experience, B-school training, traditional thought processes and more status quo.
Confusing assumptions with intuition gives intuition a bad, and totally undeserved, rap.
The Power of Intuition
Intuition is defined as the power or faculty of attaining to direct knowledge or cognition without evident rational thought and inference. So intuition and assumptions do share a common source – our unconscious minds. But from there, they diverge.
Intuition is a whisper when the phone rings that tells us it’s a certain person calling before we look at the Caller ID.
Intuition is the hair standing up on the back of your neck, a feeling of unease just before an earthquake rumbles it’s way through your house. (Been there, done that.)
Intuition is that little voice that tells you not to take the freeway today. Later you find out there’s a pileup on that same freeway, exactly where you would have been driving.
We don’t know the exact source of intuition. It’s a combination of mental, emotional and just plain spiritual energy. Intuition is the blend of innovative vision and out-of-the-box thinking, a foretelling of what’s to come bubbling up from the recesses of our reptilian minds. Intuition occurs in the moments when we make the simple step into the full power of the human psyche.
Whatever the source of our intuition, it’s power is based on way more than status quo programmed assumptions.
The Bottom Line
I’m a big believer in the power of intuition. My own intuition has saved my life, opened new doors and frankly, kept me out of what became some pretty gnarly experiences.
I believe that intuition comes from a higher plane, from a part of us humans that science can’t explain or understand, yet. In my world, intuition is highly valuable as a mechanism to step out of the status quo and into new and innovative thinking. Intuition steps beyond the patterns, behaviors and beliefs that we already assume are true and into entirely new approaches, combinations and thinking.
Intuition is forward focused, assumptions are based on the rear view mirror. And we all know what happens when we assume, now don’t we?
A quick note: Today I leave for my fist 7 day training on the journey to my masters certs in NLP, Hypnosis and Timeline Therapies. My plan is to present a short blog post about a lesson learned each day of my training. So if you’re interested in the power of your mind to change your life – check back. It’s going to be a FUN and AMAZING week.