The concept of intuition can be a little bit difficult to pin down. It can also be a bit difficult to recognize when it occurs as well.
You have probably had the experience of being stopped in highway traffic due to an accident ahead. The radio traffic channel advises alternate routes but you just do not think that is a good idea. You decide to stay on the highway and later find out that you got home way ahead of your co-worker who took a detour and got caught in worse traffic. Were you psychic?
Probably not. It is more likely that your subconscious was sorting through the twelve other times you encountered this problem on your drive home and weighing the severity of the accident against the traffic at this time of day and the day of the week in order to figure out whether or not the detour would be a worse alternative. You did not consciously work that out; you just had a gut feeling.
Intuition is often defined as this apparent ability to acquire knowledge without the use of reason. However, in reality, intuition is a highly evolved function involving the subconscious. The subconscious not only records all of our experiences, but also sorts, categorizes and interconnects pieces of information to form a web of patterns that become a referral network for new experiences.
Many researchers and thinkers about brain function suggest that while intuition is something of an unconscious process, it is possible to treat it as a skill that can be improved and called upon to assist in creative thinking.
One of the first ways to work with your intuition is to recognize when it is working for you. For example, some people get a visual flash of the answer they need. Others hear a voice in their head or feel physically pulled in a direction. Yet others simply feel absolutely rock solid sure that they know what to do. Once you have a sense of how your subconscious signals you, you will be more open to acknowledging intuition rather than dismissing it as irrational.
You will also know how to summon your intuitive sense. If you hear it, ask a question in your mind. If you see it, write the question on a bulletin board in your mind or create a mental image of the problem. You can also use associations. For example, when you sense an intuitive thought, acknowledge it with some physical movement such as clapping your hands or squeezing your toes. Then, when you want to evoke your intuition, try to do so by using the same physical movement.
Many people believe that you can more easily listen to your subconscious and free your intuition to work if you quiet your conscious mind. One of the best ways to do so is to learn meditation techniques. Pose questions to yourself then meditate for a time and you may find new insights.
Help yourself make connections by brainstorming. Try writing down your problem, issue, goal in the middle of a piece of paper. Start drawing lines and writing thoughts about that central issue in connected balloons. Let your mind take you from balloon to balloon drawing new lines and making connections where they make sense. This exercise can often show you a different way to think about something that leads to intuitive insight.
Do not ignore the data that you have. It is all useful, it all builds connections. But, push the data as far as you can. Take a piece of information about the drop in purchase of luxury items, for example. Push that information. How far will purchasing drop? What will people buy instead? Will there be a new generation of high end purchasers? What forces will allow that to happen? What would the new purchaser want that is different from the old purchaser?
Look at your situation within a much bigger picture. Describe your problem or goal. Then write down as many major trends as you can think of and think about how each affects your issue both negatively and positively. Then think about what you can do to minimize the negatives and capitalize on the positives. Are there any themes that emerge? Do you see where you should be taking your business based on this macro analysis?
Think globally. If your product or business is focused in one country, think about what is happening in other countries.
Think across industries. How are businesses in other industries dealing with this issue?
Think about your customer. How is your customer changing in response to the issues you identify? What does that mean about their wants and needs? How do you adapt your products to ride those emerging trends?
You may not be able to control your intuition but by challenging yourself and your thought process and training yourself to work with your subconscious, you may well be able to inspire regular flashes of insight that you can trust to be a benefit to your business and your life.
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