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The Wisdom of Intuition - By Chris Gearing

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Wisdom of Intuition

September 17, 2009 

Dr. Sylvia Gearing, TXA 21 News 

Everyday we are forced to make split second decisions, often with minimal information. Intuition has always played an important part in our decisions at work and in our relationships. Now psychologists report that intuition can literally save your life.

So, what is intuition and why should you care?

Perimeter Protection System: Intuition is our perimeter protection system. It is a “knowing” that is often instant, without logic and beyond words. As one author said, “you are what you know.” Intuition originates in the “intuitive” circuitry that operates beneath our awareness, automatically and effortlessly, with immense speed. Our conclusions are often global and illogical but they make intuitive sense. We process in nano-seconds as we feel the raw power of our gut reaction warning us of danger.

Feeling Versus Analyzing: Raw, intense, and unexplainable, intuition is increasingly valuable in a world that is more complex and connected, we have to make decisions quickly based on minimal information in real time. Deliberating over a decision is often a luxury we cannot afford.

Analysis Can Lead to Denial: We now know that the brain operates analytically and intuitively. Our analytical brain weighs in later, draws on logic and deduction and selects the most reasonable decision. Unfortunately, it is easy to talk ourselves out of what we are seeing. Our intuitive brain is “way out in front” screaming warnings and protecting us against manipulators, narcissists and sociopaths. In these cases, denial can be our enemy.

Pay attention to the degree of what you are feeling, because not all intuitions are the same:

Intensity and Frequency Vary: Intuitions vary in intensity and frequency. They often occur randomly when we are mindlessly going through our daily business. Suddenly, our mind is issuing a warning to back up and protect ourselves.

Ordered Hierarchy That Builds: Intuition is comprised of an ordered hierarchy: nagging feeling, persistent thought, anxiety, apprehension, suspicion, hesitation, doubt, surge of anxiety and then outright fear.

We Don’t Pay Attention: People emit 1,000 different communications in a given day and our biggest problem is that we fail to track obvious behavior. We minimize the odd or even bizarre and amplify the normal aspects of other people’s behavior. People show us who they are and it is up to us to pay attention and put it all together. Believe your eyes.

A lot of my patients ignore their intuitions, sometimes with disastrous consequences. Here’s why:

We want things to be normal. We evaluate people constantly and are usually reassured that others are normal and trustworthy and have legitimate agendas. We do not want to believe that serious danger can exist right in front of us, especially in the business world. In the workplace, sociopaths abound and good people are especially vulnerable to disbelieving what is directly in front of us.

Another interesting facet of intuition is the gender differences in processing and purpose:

Draw Upon the Past to Assess the Present: Absolutely there are differences between the genders. Women have twice the emotional memory capacity in their brains as men so they are able to augment their intuition with memories of other similar situations.

Whole Brain Thinking: They have access to both sides of their brains so their intuition is influenced by both the raw, gut reactions of the intuitive brain leavened by the analytical capacities of the analytical brain. We are often willing to go with our gut feeling, which is not a fleeting emotional reaction. Intuition is a complex cognitive reaction that is brilliantly engineered by your watchful female brain.

The key is not to always “tune out” your intuition. Pay attention to the signals your mind is sending you:

There are several important survival signs that someone is potentially trying to manipulate you. You can use them in both business and in your personal life to protect yourself.

1.) Forced Teaming: When someone tries to project a shared purpose or experience when none exists, they are trying to manipulate you. Good cons want you to participate and drop your guard.

2.) Charm and Niceness: Charm is often a direct attempt to compel, control and direct. Ask yourself how sincere the “charm” seems. Is he trying to charm you or is he simply charming? There is a big difference.

3.) Too Many Details: People who lie talk too much. When people tell the truth, they do not feel doubted so they don’t oversupply you with details.

4.) Typecasting: Those little labels and criticism provide a slight insult and are usually easy to refute. However, the manipulator says it to keep you off balance.

5.) Loan Sharking: They love to set up situations in which you owe them. They offer assistance but he is always calculating what you owe him.

6.) The Unsolicited Promise: One of the most reliable signs of danger, the unsolicited promise is used to convince of a benign intention. They are used to lull you into complacency and to convince you that the outcome will be rewarding. Nothing could be farther from the truth.


"The Gift of Fear" by Gavin de Becker

The Monitor, The American Psychological Association, 2005

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