Have you ever had to choose between two equally difficult choices and managed, almost like magic, to choose the right one? The choice process may not have been obvious, but your brain knew how to interpret small clues, which may even have gone unnoticed by your rational brain. This process, often seen as supernatural, is intuition.
Intuition gives you an overview of situations and various areas of your life depend on it. In particular, this overview is truly appreciated in business. In a recent study, of 93 Nobel Prize winners from the past 16 years, 82 admitted that intuition plays an important role in scientific and creative discoveries. This study, and others like this, have led to more and more companies of excellence to seek to develop this competence in their employees because these traits of intuition save, in certain situations, a lot of time and money.
What is the intuition?
Intuition is the quick and unconscious reaction of any threat or reward clues (Gordon, 2016). In other words, your brain rationally processes the details that your instinct (flight- fight) automatically recognizes and verbally communicates the solutions. These solutions arise in the constant comparison that the brain performs between the situation it finds itself in, similar previous situations, past knowledge and present variables.
Let's look at the following example, about choosing between two difficult options:
- When faced with both options, your fight-flight instinct automatically makes a quick read of the situation.
- “Will this option bring success?”; "Will we win if we choose option B?"
- This reading is then compared to your past knowledge/experiences.
- Here you will read the options hints – a phrase that caught your attention, a word that aroused your curiosity…
- Your brain explores all the details and processes them, using a series of “conditional relationships” that draw our attention to the results that certain actions could lead to.
- Finally, it rationally indicates the most likely action – "If I choose option B, I will succeed!”
This processing takes place in different areas and situations of our life, from "sensing" when the project you work on will be well received by your boss, to preparing yourself minutes before a child having a tantrum, or to get out of the way seconds before hitting someone.
The intuitive “sixth sense”, with its spectacular processing power, increases the precision, the efficiency of the decision- making process and the confidence in it.
Measure your intuition
The intuition is further identified as one of the 8 psychological functions identified by Carl Jung. The typology of Jung creates a theoretical framework on the personality types and develops the self-knowledge and the improvement of human relations. Within this theory, Jung identified intuition as one of the functions – that is, the way a person deals with the world (internal and external), within their own preferences and comfort level.
According to Jung's definition, Intuition is a type of perception, which works outside the usual conscious process. It's irrational, but it comes from the complex integration of large amounts of information rather than simply seeing or hearing.
In this definition, the intuitive people live focused in the future, immersed in a world of possibilities. They process information through patterns and impressions they take from their environment. Are attracted to profound ideas, abstract concepts and metaphors, valuing the inspiration and the imagination. They are the people who can clearly read between the lines. They are also analytical and able to look at the world through a broader lens (the big picture ).
Taking Jung's theory, Katharine Briggs and her daughter Isabel Briggs Myers developed a diagnosis about people's personality: the MBTI - Myers-Briggs Type Indicator . Access to this test allows to not only measure the intuition and the other psychological types of Jung, but also to get global statistics on the differentiation of people according to Jung's typology. For example, through Myers-Briggs we know that around 30 % of the population is identified with the Intuition Function. Will you be one of those people? If you want to know your MBTI type, and if it is intuitive, contact us .
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is also used in business programs, such as talent management, culture change, team building and development leadership.
The benefits of being intuitive:
More and more reasons are being discovered every day to encourage the demand for intuitive people in all areas of business. And there is a reason for that. According to Chopra & Tanzi (2017), intuitive people:
- Make quick and correct decisions.
- Capture subtle facial expressions.
- Rely on introspection (knowing something directly without waiting for reason to reach a conclusion ) .
- Make creative leaps .
- Are good at making judgments about people – they can read people.
- Trust and follow their first instinct in quick judgments.
In addition to the aforementioned time saving, these types of benefits can also lead to a maximization of productivity – “I don't waste time with ideas that don't work” – and in building trusting relationships.
In a more specific example, intuition can be the difference between surviving or not! A recent study (2014) by the Office of Naval Research, which aimed to study intuition for military personnel, found that intuition as a competency was actively preventing war and combat casualties as evidenced by military reports that indicated moments such as: “something told me to get out of the way” or “There was a 6th sense that told me to get out of there”. As a result, this study set out to train and teach these precognitive skills in order to anticipate snipers, bombs and other attacks.