Developing intuition starts by realizing you have it already. If you’ve ever had a hunch about something, that was intuition. Intuition is just your mind using more than what you are consciously aware of. But can you trust your intuition? How do you improve it?
Developing Intuition In Three Steps
- Recognize it and encourage it.
- Study it to make it more trustworthy.
- Give it good information to work with.
Gary Kasparov will admit that a computer can calculate chess positions many moves further ahead than he can. Yet he still beats the best computers out there because of his intuitive grasp of the game. His experience allows him to combine analysis with a “sense” of which move is best. Try to find areas in your own life where you intuitively operate.
Of course, intuition is also a warning device. A friend once share with me, both my wife and I felt we shouldn’t get on that bus in Ecuador. This is no psychic power. Crowded buses are prime locations for pickpockets. A drunk man was bumping into people repeatedly. We didn’t consciously pay attention, but these things registered in our minds, warning us. We felt “something isn’t right here.” When we ignored our intuition, I was robbed.
When I bought a conversion van, I saw them all over. Maybe you’ve had a similar experience. Looking for and recognizing a thing trains your mind to find more of it. The same process will happen if you watch for your intuition – you’ll start to see more of it.
Unfortunately, a strong hunch can be for irrelevant reasons too. If you were hit by a yellow taxi as a child, you might have “intuitive” hunches not to get into yellow taxis for the rest of your life. So even learning to recognize your intuition and encourage it may leave you wondering when to trust it.
Study Your Intuition
Start questioning your hunches. If we had asked why we felt bad about that bus, it may have occurred to us, “Oh yeah, crowded busses are a bad idea – we know that.” Study your strong feeling about that taxi, and you might say, “Oh, it’s just my fear of yellow taxis.” Get in the habit of paying attention to and studying your intuitive feelings.
Where does your intuition work best? If you’re always right about your intuitive stock picks, give a little credence to them. On the other hand, if your hunches about people are usually wrong, don’t follow them. Just pay attention more, and you’ll be developing intuition about your intuition.
Give Your Intuition Good Information
Your skill, knowledge and experience determine the potential effectiveness of your intuition. No weak chess player will never intuitively beat that computer, like Kasparov can. Learn enough about a subject, before expecting good hunches about it – or before trusting the hunches. Work in the area you want more intuition in. When enough information is in your mind, it will go to work for you with or without your conscious participation, so feed it well.
Recognize your intuition and you’ll have hunches and ideas more often. Study it and you’ll learn when to trust it. Give it good information and you’ll be repaid with good hunches and ideas. This is the simple formula for developing intuition.