The word intuition comes from the Latin word intueri, meaning "to look within." Webster defines it as "the power or facility of attaining direct knowledge without evident rational thought."
In Japan, intuition is known as "stomach art" -- an interesting turn on the Western expression of "gut-level feeling."
Many feel intuition is a remnant of an ancient survival mechanism, as it allows us to sense danger without taking the time to analyze a situation.
But intuition can also be extraordinarily profound.
Intuition is a unique "whole brain" function. It draws upon both our higher mind, and our entire lifetime of experience stored in the subconscious mind.
And intuition is probably also our most powerful method of integrating our conscious and subconscious thought processes.
** How Intuition Works in the Brain
The two halves of your "grey matter" (your cerebral cortex) and the thick network of nerves connecting them (the corpus collosum) are your "thinking cap" -- the "higher thinking" portion of your brain.
This "thinking cap" houses your logic and analysis, and also interprets input from your five physical senses (vision, smell, hearing, touch and taste.)
It is also intimately involved in intuition.
Here's how intuition works in the brain: The second you enter a strange room or situation, your brain immediately integrates:
1. The input from all your higher thinking,
2. The input from all five senses, and
3. Your entire lifetime of experience.
Within milliseconds your brain analyzes the situation, compares it to your lifetime of experience, and gives you a spontaneous "gut level" feeling about your environment.
Either you're judged to be "safe," and you feel relaxed and comfortable ?- OR you're judged to be "threatened," and you feel nervous, or on edge.
All of this occurs on a non-rational level as an instant "ah ha" feeling.
** Intuition and Business Success
Intuition plays an especially interesting role in the world of business.
In the latter half of the last century business decisions and results were analyzed using logic-based measures such as: rate of return, cost of capital, net income, etc. But all the while the most successful leaders were quietly using an unspoken tool -- intuition.
Today, intuition is being openly touted by top management consultants as "essential."
In a study of 13,000 business executives by Harvard researcher Jagdish Parikh, the executives credited 80 percent of their business success to relying upon intuition.
And research conducted by Ashley Fields, a senior advisor to Shell Oil, concluded that among Fortune 500 companies, "intuitive information processing strategies are most often found at the highest levels of an organization."
** Powering-Up Your Intuitive Intelligence
Intuition is not just valuable in the business world. It can often lead to powerful creative, personal and relationship insights and breakthroughs.
For most of us, intuition is most active just before sleep, upon awakening from a nap, during a dream, while contemplating, or while doing something we find very relaxing.
All of these have something in common -- the alpha-state brainwaves often associated with meditation and creative contemplation.
Here are some methods of "powering-up" your intuitive intelligence:
(1) A "Kung Fu" Exercise: Shut your eyes and ask someone to approach you as quietly as possible. Say "stop" when you think they are within an arm's length. You'll be surprised how rapidly you'll increase your skill and accuracy.
(2) A "Sensory Intuition" Exercise: Intuition draws heavily on our sensory intelligence. Strengthen your sensory organ-brain connection, and you'll strengthen your intuition. Place several aromatic items on your desk. Look at and smell each one. Now close your eyes and by smelling each item, try to get a clear mental vision of what it looks like. Open your eyes to see how detailed your "mental vision" was. Continue this process until you can clearly "see" what the object looks like just from its scent.
(3) A "Management Training" Exercise: Here's an exercise management consultants are teaching top business executives. Remove your attention from any past or future concerns for a few minutes, and let yourself simply experience what is directly in front of, and around, you. Don't judge or comment -- just notice.
** Putting Intuition to Work
The most powerful way to build your intuitive intelligence is to begin to act on your intuition. Simply allowing yourself to act on your intuitions will gradually build your "intuitive intelligence."
Consider the cited study of 16,000 business executives who credited 80 percent of their business success to relying on their intuition.
Building your self awareness in this way will do more than just increase your intuitive intelligence.
It will also increase your probability of success and achievement in your personal, business or professional life.
? 2004 All Rights Reserved
The author, Dr Jill Ammon-Wexler, is a doctor of psychology, pioneer brain/mind researcher, and former advisor to the Pentagon, a Presidential Commission, and numerous top executives and executive teams.
The author of several books and hundreds of articles, she is also the co-founder of quantum-self.com, and the Creative Director of the Self Discovery Community. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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