How do you know when your intuition is working? Your split second decisions are correct most of the time.
Thee cultural myth is women use intuition and men use logic. This myth springs from the confusion between intuition and feeling and logic and accuracy. Logic is only as good as the data used. If you use incorrect data in a logical process, you'll get an incorrect conclusion. Feeling is very inaccurate as a tool to gather data, but it allows you to be very responsive to other people's needs.
Traditionally, women have occupied roles that require the ability to respond to the needs of others, making those around them feel known in a deep and meaningful way. Compassion, creativity and feeling are the tools that were needed for traditional female roles. However, men who survived in the business world, whether as soldiers, hunters or tribal leaders, used intuition.
Have you ever sat at a table with a group of great investors or generals? People who can predict the market movements or guide an army through tough terrain and get them out alive? If you have, you'll find that the Asperger's spectrum -- the kind of brain that isn't overly complicated by emotion -- is over represented in this group. Their spouses may complain they are remote but, in the game of life, they excel because their decisions are based on data and logic. They don't get attached to their market position or crippled by the emotional weight of a decision. This is the true intuitive state; pure information, pure logic, accurate assessments and direct, effective action.
Intuition is the ability to make a correct decision on the spot, in a split second, without adequate, traditional information. As long as half a century ago, experiments at the university level (enjoy your search engine, they have been mentioned enough) have demonstrated that we are able to gain access to information seemingly out of thin air, but may actually be by "reading" patterns of energy. (By the way, you can send information the same way, but that's another article). If that's the case, then why don't you make correct decisions all of the time? The most potent poison to accurate, intuitive information is emotion, expectation and experience. To use intuition accurately, you need to be able to "connect the dots" of intuitive data without emotion or other information leading you astray. This is an ability most accentuated by the male brain, which has fewer connections between the two hemispheres where feeling and imagination like creativity, can be misread as data. This is hardwired Y chromosome stuff, so the true intuitive brain is the male brain.
Now, how can the female brain which is wired for connection, compassion and feeling, become more accurate and competitive in the world? How can men use their natural intuition more reliably? Training. Just as you train your brain to regulate your actions (or you would still be biting when angry), you can train your brain to find a clear, intuitive state.
Here's a quick lesson in intuition or how to make the right choice when you don't have time to reason.
1. Don't give yourself time to reason
2. Know your question or goal. In fact, it's best to write it down
3. Follow your attention as opposed to thinking or being creative. Notice what you notice, with all of your senses, both internally and in your environment--everything!
4. Document where your attention goes without analyzing the data as you receive it.
5. At a certain point, you'll have an "a-ha" where the correct answer or action is clear to you.
6. If you can, back up your intuition with traditional data.
7. The time it takes to do the preceding six steps will become instantaneous as you practice.
If you frequently document this process and notice the accuracy of your intuition, the easier you'll be able to use this state when you need it. Process needs to be reinforced by discipline, validation and repetition. Old habits die hard.
My rule is, when I make one mistake, I let it go. When I make two, I go back to my training process for intuition. Two mistakes don't mean your intuition isn't working. It means it's working against you! The subconscious, just like an unruly child, needs to be put back into a productive, disciplined structure.
Remember, how do you know when your intuition is working? Your split second decisions are correct most of the time.
Laura Day is the New York Times best selling author of six books. Her most recent one is How To Rule the World from Your Couch. She's been featured on Oprah, Good Morning America, CNN, ABC News, Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal and other national and international media. She trains people and companies to use their intuition in practical, predictive ways to create success. www.howtoruletheworldfromyourcouch.com