Too often we tend to only trust our rational mind and our senses. We base our decisions on what we can see with our own eyes, or our thoughts — and we ignore our gut feelings. But we shouldn’t: our intuition can be incredibly powerful.
By tuning in to our subconscious, we are able to perceive what others don’t. This, in turn, gives us awareness and brings us closer to the truth (even if we don’t know exactly how the process works).
It’s as if we were able to find our way out of a maze, not by following a map, but by being guided by the voice of an unknown entity.
Does intuition always work? Of course not. But what I’ve found is that while the rational mind excels at solving practical, everyday problems quickly, the subconscious helps us make important, long-term decisions, and it’s usually a slower process.
For example, when you are at the grocery store and you’re not sure which brand of peanut butter to buy, chances are your conscious mind will take care of that in less than a second. The same applies to simple maths problems: there’s no need to use any kind of intuition to solve them, just logic.
However if you are trying to decide between job A or job B, or which city you should relocate to, or whether a relationship is going to work out (and you know the outcome of your decision is pretty important), then your gut feeling tends to be useful or even necessary.
In this article I will share seven reasons why your intuition is a lot more powerful than you think. But before that, let’s have a look at the definition of intuition.
What is intuition?
In general, intuition is defined as the process through which we perceive the truth without any clear evidence.
When someone solves a problem using numbers, data, patterns and associations, that’s the result of thinking. Intuition, on the other hand, would be when you solve the same problem through ideas or feelings that cannot be explained by the rational mind.
Psychiatrist Carl Jung — whose work includes the psychological types — once said that “intuition is a perception by ways or means of the unconscious”. He believed that while sensation, thinking, and feeling are easy to explain and understand, the process of intuition is often unknown.
Through intuition and hunches, we are able to determine the outcome of a certain situation by internal images and ideas, rather than elements or patterns in the external world.
Seven reasons why your gut feeling is right
1. There’s always too many factors
I don’t care how smart you are or how analytical your mind is: when it comes to making important decisions, there’s always going to be too many factors to take into account.
For example, if you are trying to decide whether you should move to a particular city, your rational mind may think of how big or expensive that city is, how far away it is from where you are right now, the likelihood of finding a job there, and whether people like living there.
However your subconscious mind, through intuition, may ask: is it stressful living there? Is it safe? If people say it’s a good place, is it because they were born there and didn’t travel much? Is the climate different, and is it going to affect my mood?
This is just a simple example: I’m sure you can think of a time in which you had to make a big decision, went through every single possible factor and still forgot about two or three really important ones.
That’s why it’s important to take time, and trust your gut. As I wrote at the beginning, intuition can be a slow process. You may have to wait until you go to bed and everything is quiet, so your mind is clear. Or you may have a powerful intuition as soon as you wake up the following day.
The truth is that sometimes we are able to decide immediately — we know we’re right, and people around us think it’s the right decision as well; and sometimes we need time. When we do, it’s crucial that we use our intuition to be aware of all the possible factors.
This may take a day, a week, or even months. And while this could easily turn into overthinking, there hasn’t been a single time in my life I regretted spending more time evaluating the outcome of my decision (of course, I am referring to long-term, life changing decisions).
2. Your core values and emotions
When you look at numbers and statistics, it’s easy to forget about your inner world. Your intuition, on the other hand, is always aware of your values and emotions.
There will be times in which statistics will tell you a particular job, diet, lifestyle, etc. is the best possible one; and all your friends will tell you the same; and some guy on YouTube will tell you the same.
The problem is that all these people don’t know who you truly are. They don’t know how you would feel, for instance, if you were working a certain job. They don’t know your core values, and they don’t know your ideals or views.
So before you look at the numbers, before you choose the job everyone else wants, before you follow the best relationship advice, you need to trust your gut.
I don’t care how accurate the numbers are, or how experienced a particular therapist/coach/advisor is. They may be right in general, or for most people, but not necessarily in your case.
Everyone is different, so what works for others may not work for you (and vice versa). When it comes to important decisions, you need to pay close attention to your inner images, ideas, and perception: those will guide you, and tell you what’s right for you.
3. Premonition and the sixth sense
If you are skeptical about this, feel free to skip to the next reason. I personally believe we are able to perceive things with more than just five senses, so this had to be part of the list.
One thing I’ve noticed many times in my life is premonition. It happened in my dreams, or when my mind was calm and I was about to fall asleep. I have also experienced what Jung calls synchronicity (events that aren’t connected by causality, but by meaning).
Though it’s impossible to prove premonition and any other “paranormal” events exist, I believe they do, simply because I’ve noticed them way too many times, both in my own life and other people’s life. A coincidence may happen once or twice, not a hundred times.
If our mind does have the ability to predict future events, and if humans do have what’s called a “sixth sense”, then our gut feeling may be the result of such ability.
If you’ve ever experienced premonition yourself (for example, because you had precognitive dreams), then you know it’s impossible to explain that with our rational mind. You could say it was a coincidence, but again, what are the chances?
Intuition may go beyond our five senses, so when you have a hunch, pay attention.
4. Intuition thinks long term
How many times did you make the wrong decision simply because you thought short term?
You saved a few bucks by buying the cheapest version of a product, but it broke down and you had to get a new one. You saved time by finishing a task as quickly as possible, but the end result was poor. You didn’t go out so you could relax at home, but you didn’t meet that special person.
When we use our intuition, we don’t just know what’s right or what feels good now — we know what’s right, period.
If you want to get better at making decisions, then it’s essential that you think long term. While your rational mind tends to focus on the immediate outcome, or results, your intuition sees the bigger picture, so you need to listen to it.
The bigger the decision, the more you’ll need to think in months or even years, so take your time and trust your gut.
5. Intuition doesn’t care about other people’s opinion
As I’ve explained earlier, even the best therapist or coach doesn’t know who you truly are and what you truly want, so their advice may be wrong.
I am not saying you shouldn’t trust anyone — most of the time, someone who is smarter or more experienced than you will be right. However if you stop questioning what others say and automatically assume your feelings don’t matter, eventually you’re going to make huge mistakes in your life.
Other people’s advice is just that: advice. Being able to see different points of views, and learning from those who are older or more experienced, can only be a good thing. But ultimately you are in control of your life. You know what you’re supposed to do.
Think of your favorite social media platform, fashion brand, or car. Whoever created any of these was probably told they were wasting their time building something people wouldn’t really buy or use. They were probably told they should be realistic, and give up.
Yet these people followed their intuition. They knew their idea was great. They knew all their hard work would pay off eventually. And because they didn’t listen to other people, they created beautiful things.
6. Sometimes mistakes are necessary
Whether you like it or not, sometimes we’re actually supposed to experience pain, failure, or disappointment. Or, we’re supposed to make mistakes, and learn from them.
A good example is relationships: some people will need to be in a relationship with an energy vampire or someone who disrespects them to truly appreciate the positive traits of their future partner(s).
By going through the process of failure and making mistakes, we grow, and we become wiser. However when that happens, we feel pain, and our rational mind will do anything it can to avoid it.
I am not suggesting you make mistakes, or make the wrong decisions, on purpose. I am simply saying that sometimes we are supposed to experience painful things, and while our conscious mind will avoid them no matter what, our intuition may see the purpose behind those things.
Because growth is usually uncomfortable, if you try to be as rational and logical as possible, that may prevent you from becoming a better person.
7. Divine intelligence
Do you believe there is some kind of divine intelligence guiding you onto the best path for your highest good? Do you believe that sometimes God, or the universe, wants you to go through a certain experience, no matter what your current plans are?
If so, then your intuition may be a way to tune in to this intelligence. Your gut feeling may be a sign that you need to think less and feel more; let go, and stop being a control freak all the time.
No matter how much we learn, there’s only so much we can know as human beings. Sometimes we need to surrender, and trust that the universe, or God, or whatever you believe in, knows more than us.
Sometimes we have a “feeling”, do the exact opposite of what would seem like the most logical solution, and get it absolutely right. How does that happen? There’s many possible explanations, but it could simply be the universe guiding us.
Good instincts usually tell you what to do long before your head has figured it out.— Michael Burke