The Quiet Power of IntuitionSep 30, 2021 08:30AM ● By Marlaina Donato
Albert Einstein considered knowledge secondary to intuition and inspiration, and modern visionaries like Steve Jobs, Oprah Winfrey and Steven Spielberg have all endorsed the practical magic of gut feelings. The rest of us that have had that unexpected hunch to take a chance in business or get off the highway via a different exit than we first planned are in good company.
Intuition—once a key factor in our ancestors’ ability to survive and later reduced to a New Age curiosity—is now a subject of research in the military, which has renamed it “sensemaking”. Beneath the clatter of modern living, the quiet voice within each of us is alive and well, an often-ignored superpower. Intuition gives us the opportunity to leave the comfortable shore of left-brain reasoning to dive into immediate somatic response. This sixth sense in our everyday toolbox can enable us to not only endure, but prosper.
Research has shown that believing in the value of intuition and trusting gut feelings in business pays off. In the 1970s, parapsychologist Douglas Dean and John Mihalasky, an engineering professor at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, tested 385 American CEOs on their intuitive capacities. Eighty percent of the individuals with the highest scores had previously increased company profits twofold within five years.
Out-of-the-blue flashes of “knowing” usually come without warning and can dissolve like a flake of snow under the glare of too much analysis. This sense can also warp and prove unreliable during extreme emotional states like anger or fear. Being aware of subtleties and trusting the energetic current beneath the surface invites more accurate and fruitful results.
Cultivating internal knowing is a wise investment that can also quell frazzled nervous systems in the process. Adopting simple habits and activities can dial down the fight-or-flight stress response and make room for the inner voice. We might wonder how we know if it’s our fear or our desire talking, and the answer is simple: Listen to feelings, not thoughts. Other suggestions include:
- Meditation or meditative movement like dancing or repetitive, mindful activities like kneading bread or painting
- Creative projects like scrapbooking or journaling
- Spending quality time in nature
- Dialing into our everyday senses
- Taking a social media sabbatical for more unplugged downtime
Marlaina Donato is a body-mind-spirit author and a visionary recording artist.