Intuition. It’s the ability to understand or recognize something about a situation or circumstance without having to analyze or break down the facts about that particular situation.
It is so critical that we, as men, learn how to hone our sense of intuition and improve our ability to listen to this little voice – however you choose to define it.
So today, as I was thinking about what I wanted to address, I thought it would be a good idea to talk about why it’s important we improve our intuition and a couple quick and easy steps each and every one of us can employ to make our intuition work better.
So, let’s break down why it’s important.
First and foremost, improving your intuition makes you faster at the important stuff. If you’re constantly having to evaluate and analyze any particular situation or set of data, you are operating at less than peak performance.
We are so bombarded with information, and roles, and responsibilities. It’s critical that we do not get bogged down trying to decipher what course of action to take.
Next, improving intuition allows you to focus on the important tasks and responsibilities and eliminates the need to focus on things that don’t really matter.
As I was preparing for this conversation, I looked up some studies that have actually been performed and here’s what I found:
- “Dark” websites are more commonly used for crime
- Business travelers like it more when they have TSA PreCheck
- Most of your Facebook Friends are not really your friends
- A healthy diet will help you live longer
- Exercise makes our muscles work better with age
And, my personal favorite:
- Spiderman does not actually exist
People – smart people – actually spent time and money on these studies. Imagine if we used those resources somewhere that actually mattered.
I think the reason people do studies like this is so they can find excuses for not doing what they intuitively know they should.
Third, your intuition produces results. How do I know that you might ask.
Well, I can’t point to any particular study but, I can tell you that it’s something that I intuitively know. Humans have been on this planet for tens of thousands of years. If we didn’t have some sense of how to stay alive and the ability to thrive, we would have gone extinct with the Dodo Bird and Sabretooth Tiger.
And fourth, it’s important we improve our intuition so we can improve our level of accuracy. The more factors as you can consider when making decisions, the better off you’ll be. And, when you can couple hard data with your sense of intuition, I think that you’ll find you’re more accurate more often.
So, let’s talk about how to do this. I’m going to share with you three ways to improve this little sense we all have called intuition.
LISTEN AND RESPOND
First, listen and respond to your intuition more often. If you’re intuition is telling you something, listen to it and react accordingly.
I believe our intuition acts like a muscle in that the more you exercise that muscle the stronger it becomes.
If you don’t exercise that muscle or listen to your instinct, that muscle will atrophy and become useless.
I know it’s hard to just trust what you’re feeling (especially if you’re the analytical type) but you have those feelings for a reason. Listen to them.
Next, train yourself. Train your mind. Train your body. Train everything you can and this will naturally improve your intuition.
On the podcast with Patrick Van Horne, author of Left of Bang, a couple weeks ago we talked about learning to drive.
When you’re first learning to drive, you have to go through a series of tasks in order to ensure you’re going to drive safely down the road. Twenty years later, I’m sure that I still go through those same steps but, I’ve done it so often, that I intuitively and without thinking, perform those tasks efficiently and effectively.
Another resource you’re going to want to look into is the OODA loop. This process was originally developed by Air Force Colonol John Boyd and refers to the cycle of Observe, Orient, Decide, Act when making military decisions. It also applies to any number of scenarios we might find ourselve in as well.
Tim Kennedy, MMA Fighter and Army Ranger Qualified Special Forces Sniper teaches something very similar (I’ve also had an interview with him which you can check out here.)
His process is Awareness, Assessment, Action, Analysis
Whether you use either of those processes or something else entirely, the more practice you can get in real-world environments, the better capable you’ll be of getting quicker at moving through the process and getting to the desired outcome quicker.
And, in my experience, the less time you’ll have to spend critically analyzing every situation you may find yourself in and you’ll be able to respond instinctively and without thinking about it.
Which leads me to the last point that I wanted to make with you today and that is the power of diversifying your training and your experience.
If the only input going into your brain is the same input that has always gone in, you’re never going to be able to build out and maximize your intuition.
It is impossible to make decisions in this life in a vacuum. Your choices in one area of life naturally spill over to other areas.
It’s been my experience that, if you can give yourself exposure to different inputs, experiences, vacations, training, stimulation, etc., you can then use those sets of experiences in different elements of your life.
Not only does it make you a more well-rounded man, it makes you much more efficient and it gives you the ability to draw upon a vast array of tools, skills, and abilities that other people may not have.
Intuition guys. It is so important. I think it’s easy to assume that some men are more inutuitive than others and, while agree that might be true to an extent, intuition is also something that can be grown and improved upon for your benefit and the benefit of the lives of the people you’re serving.
The more tools we have in our tool belt, the more effective we become. It seems to me intuition is one of those tools that commonly gets overlooked because we tend to believe you either have it or you don’t or – and this is one of the unintended consequences of the technological world in which we live – it’s so easy to look at data and forget that our minds and our souls also possess a hard-to-quantify set of data we should also be considering.
Again, intuition will help you make decisions faster, develop your ability to focus on the important, produce greater results, and make you more accurate.
And, the best way to do develop your intuition is to listen to it and respond more often, train this extra sense we have, and create a broad array of inputs and experiences in our lives.