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How does intuition actually work?

How does intuition actually WORK?

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It’s really hard to explain but, you know when you just KNOW? Intuition is a slightly slippery concept, in that it’s really hard to explain how you know but you just know that you know. It has been defined as “nonconscious emotional information” which on some days feels like….all information amiright? 

Intuition is basically the ability to believe something without analytical reason or proof, and it bridges the gap between our conscious and unconscious minds. It can be a really powerful guiding force - behind a lot of extremely successful businesses is a founder saying they just “had a gut feeling”. Here’s how it actually works, and how to tell when your intuition is hammering at the gates. 

So, is intuition actually a thing? 

Back in 2016, researchers in Australia proved that yes, it does actually exist during an experiment with college students. They showed them black and white images of dots moving on one half of a screen, and asked which direction the dots were moving. Occasionally the other half of the screen would show a bright, flashing square of colour for just a millisecond. Within this square the scientists embedded an image that was designed to trigger an emotional response. They went for things like cute puppies or babies for positive and guns, snakes and scary shit for negative. Because the images flashed so quickly, the students had no idea they’d even seen them, consciously anyway. 

The results were pretty major. They basically showed that when the participants were (subliminally) shown positive imagery, they performed far better on the “which way are the dots heading?” task. They also responded much more quickly and confidently. The power of positivity, baby. The research also showed that intuition is like a muscle - the more you get used to relying on unconscious information in your brain the more adept you get at trusting your own judgement, which in the right circumstances is gold. 

Intuition Vs Scared ego

Obviously the advice “believe what you feel without any solid evidential proof” can fall off the edge of a cliff quite quickly because…. Paranoia, ego and self-doubt. The biggest difference between the two is that intuition feels calm, grounded and stable, whereas decisions driven by an ego in fear will often be backed by beliefs like “I’m not good enough” or “something bad will happen if I don’t do this”. 

How do I know if my intuition is firing up? 

  • You feel empowered and spiced up by a decision, even if there’s no rational reason to make it
  • The same opportunities keep coming back to you, over and over again and you start noticing patterns around you
  • You feel uneasy about a situation but you can’t quite put your finger on why 
  • You feel physical sensations, such as a tight chest or butterflies when you think about something
  • You have a strong sense that this feeling won’t go away