Intuition has served me well, as an innate skill.  I got an intuitive double dose, somewhere along the way but I admit – I received a little less than others when logic was doled out. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Iโ€™m not much of a concrete thinker, but I can sway that way when life requires it.  You know โ€“ tending to taxes, reviewing data. This isnโ€™t a question of skill.  I know how to do the logical, process-focused work – the measurable, quantifiable, and observable but left to my own devices, Iโ€™d bet the farm based on my gut every time, because itโ€™s my comfort zone. (That looks so reckless as I read what I just wrote.  Reckless, but honest.)

Iโ€™m reading a book by Matthew Hutson, The 7 Laws of Magical Thinking that a dear, equally driven intuiting friend recommended, and itโ€™s captured my curiosity.  Hutson has a background in neuroscience and one of his specialties is delving into the power and mystique surrounding intuition. 

As a therapist, I often rely on personality assessments (like the well-known Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) based on the work of Carl Jung, as a favorite tool of the trade.  Honing in on a clientโ€™s preferences for โ€˜Intuitionโ€™ vs. Sensingโ€™ typically provides insight about relationships, career and job satisfaction, along with the other indicators (Extraversion vs. Introversion; Feeling vs. Thinking and Judging vs. Perceiving).

Intuitive types rely on the input of emotion and the discernible human impact of circumstances. Sensing types say bring me dataโ€ฆlet me evaluate, review, tabulate and consider. One type isnโ€™t better than the other โ€“ same for the other scales โ€“ but awareness of each personโ€™s preferences and natural tendencies on each continuum can propel us toward satisfaction in life – as we endeavor to honor our truest, natural selves.

It comes as no surprise that the value and potency of intuition as a skill is hotly debated. Highly intuitive types perform worse, generally, on tasks requiring logic and can veer off into the land of magical thinking, which in Hutsonโ€™s view includes astrology, ghost stories, auras and so on, relying on โ€œsignsโ€ and signals construed from seemingly random, unrelated events.

Intuitive types prefer to rely on feelings as they make decisions.  This does not mean they/we are incapable of thinking logically, but the scales might get tipped toward affect and emotion more than data and details. Hutson wrote a short piece on the topic a few years ago, highlighting his thoughts about โ€œEight Truths About Intuitionโ€.  If youโ€™re curious, itโ€™s worth a peek. 

On my list of exploratory topics is delving into generational traits, genetic, inherited preferences for intuiting.  My mother struggled with demons of all sorts, but one of her challenges came from her powerful insight and capacity to โ€œreadโ€ others, detect nuances of emotion.  Iโ€™ve theorized that her intuitive sense was used in a self-protect manner but wonder if the inherited traits and preferences for intuiting were passed to me and to our โ€œDDโ€, our dear daughter.  The older our daughter becomes, the more I see parallels and โ€œsignsโ€ ๐Ÿ˜‰ I canโ€™t ignore.

If you have a moment, take a look at my post today for Heart of the Matter.  Our sweet DD gave me an unexpected gift and I share the story there.  Food for the soul for parents or caregivers, whether you identify as an intuitive typeโ€ฆor not!

Vicki โค

52 thoughts on “Power of Intuition

  1. Thanks for sharing this great post, Victoria. I think that you’re very fortunate to have been given a double dose of intuition. I have learned to increasingly trust mine over the years and not been disappointed. I have been disappointed, however, each and every time I went against it. Here’s a quote about attempting to live by logic only from a book entitled “The Master Key System,” by Charles F. Haanel: “He [she} who thinks to illuminate the whole range of mental action by the light of his own consciousness is not unlike the one who should go about to illuminate the universe with a rushlight.”

    Wishing you a great Sunday!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I am curious to know if you have any reaction to the work of Jonathan Haidt, renowned for his research on the psychological underpinnings of moral philosophy?

    His well-supported conclusions characterize our moral beliefs as far more emotionally determined than a product of reason, but that we quickly justify them with reasons only created a split second after the belief arrives. In effect, he argues we don’t understand ourselves well if we think we are as rational as we tend to believe.

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    1. Yes! His expertise includes ethical reasoning? Is it the same Haidt I’m thinking of? Thank you so much for the reminder. I can’t recall where or when I ran across some of his work, but I will absolutely review further…appreciate you! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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      1. Yes, he is the same fellow. Of course, few of us think we are as emotionally driven as he suggests, preferring to believe that only applies to others! Irony lives!

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    2. I was just listening to a podcast with Jonathan Haidt this week because he’s doing some new work on the effects of social media. But they talked about his metaphor of the elephant and the rider. I hadn’t put that together with intuition and this post until this comment so thank you for helping me connect the dots, Dr. Stein!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Very interesting post, Vicki. I think having spent my career in computing my intuitive side became very much mixed/balanced with my sending side, or maybe more appropriately feeling vs thinking. I think keeping the balance has served me well with the kinds of situations/problems Iโ€™ve had to handle. But, and Iโ€™ve learned this from 100s of students and colleagues, you have to respect where the other person is coming from on the M-B spectrum. Thanks for a thoughtful read.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh my goodness, yes. What an important point you make, Jane. There is no good/better/best and that’s the trickiest part of using instruments like the Myers-Briggs…it’s just a source of input and stressing that everyone has the capacity for each preference but might tactically deploy skills and preferences based on situation/need can be hard to explain. I love that you use the word balance. Yes…and yes! Thanks so much. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Okay – here’s the plan. When you come searching for me, leave a trail. Snacks or yummy treats of some sort? Not just breadcrumbs ๐Ÿคฃ…and then maybe others who will be less inclined to lose themselves…more likely to stick to the mission… will save us?๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿคฃ

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  4. Hi Vicki, so many thoughts as I read – and reread this post and some of them in conflict ๐Ÿ˜ตโ€๐Ÿ’ซ

    its good to see Myers-Briggs referred to in a different context – so focused on teaching HR and Management Development etc, in my circles its usually discussed in terms of understanding and working within teams, but so much of HR theory is underpinned by psychology, so I’m not surprised to see it in this setting too.

    Do you think society (or certain aspects of work) could force us to behave in a certain way, fitting into a model that controls our levels of intuition? i may be wrong, but my feeling is that in a job where facts and evidence are valued, you need to be able to find the evidence to back up your intuition and its dismissed if that’s what you try to draw upon. Personally, I’m finding writing on my blog is allowing me to rediscover my intuition and explore that side of myself without being shot down or dismissed – but maybe that’s also the fault of HR being seen sometimes as “fluffy” and not making use of evidence.

    I do agree that sometimes we just have to trust our emotions – that we know when something is off, even if the rational/logical approach can’t explain it, we shouldn’t ignore intuition – but maybe we need to learn to listen to it more – learn to tune in

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    1. Such great points, Brenda. About work roles and expectations – absolutely – we need to adapt to the expectations in order to “fit”. I once worked in an analyst role related to psychometric test administration and the job was very evidence and research based. I could do it, but I didn’t love it and so I sent myself back to school to explore alternative career paths – but still related to my love of psychology. I love that you feel blogging is giving you a lift in rediscovering your intuitive side w/o being dismissed or perceived as ‘fluffy’ as you said. Thank you so much for reading and for your rich comment. Cheers and hugs! ๐Ÿฅฐ

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  5. Love this post Vicki, and all this discussion so far. I think the HoTM group is aware I see myself in the logic category but I’m fascinated by this topic and how intuitive behavior and associations play into peoples lives- the why and how we are drawn/guided to one or the other and how we may balance each side. So many books worth checking into for more insight. Thank you!

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    1. Thanks so much, Deb. Both you and Wynne amaze me – youโ€™re both such talented thinkers and see the softer sides, too. I often wished I had more logic within (the hubs, too!) but I guess thatโ€™s the magic – we need all the perspectives! Xo! ๐Ÿ˜˜

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      1. Oh Vicki, what a kind comment. I will claim the thinker role for sure and raise it to over-thinking too much of the time ๐Ÿ˜‰ Tuning into emotions is a journey very new to me and it’s tough given so many years of not wanting to feel or not knowing what to do with feelings. Thinking a lot, and about everything was/is a safe way to work through bad stuff…so it’s very much self-preservation for me. Here comes that word again- balance! I want now, in this later portion of life to a more balanced way to live and look at the world. Open myself to other perspectives and try them on ๐Ÿ™‚

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        1. I think we’re on twin journeys, then! Maybe we meet in the middle…me as I’m trying to temper my feeling side with more thinking and you exploring your feeling side. I believe you hit the objective, spot-on — balance, balance, balance — and a little peace, we hope, as a goal, too! I really hear you about the overthinking as a safe way to process and work through things. Appreciate you, my blogging friend! xo! ๐Ÿ’•

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  6. What a nice compliment to your Heart of the Matter post, Vicki ๐Ÿ™‚ I have a friend who is so intuitive, even though she lives hundreds of kilometres away and even when are not regularly in touch, she will call me at my darkest moments to ask me whatโ€™s going on. She does this ALL the time… I CALL myself intuitive, but your description of your Mom sounds more like me. I grew up with one alcoholic parent and two very volatile, unpredictable parents. I adored them both, but I learned early on to โ€˜readโ€™ the atmosphere in our house just stepping one foot through the front door, and then either coming in for a nice chat or disappearing quietly into my room accordingly. Intuitive? Insightful? Highly sensitive? All I know is it can be both a gift and a curse. You have given me much food for thought today, Vicki…๐Ÿ™๐Ÿ’•

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the beautiful comment and sharing that you enjoyed this post as a companion to the Heart of the Matter story today. That means so much; trying to find a way to write a tandem post of value gives me pause, every week. And yes, yes, yes — I love knowing that there’s more that we share. Your description of navigating life with unpredictable parents, one an alcoholic, is very close to my childhood experience, too. Your description of stepping inside the house and assessing – using intuition or whatever we want to call the skill – to proceed according to the “climate”. And yes — insightful, HSP – highly sensitive – I relate to those descriptors, too. Gift and curse. You’ve nailed it. I suspect you and I might have a lot to talk about over a cup of tea or coffee. ๐Ÿ˜‰
      Oh — this just popped to mind. I shared with a friend recently about why I have difficulty in crowds — so many people to ‘read’ and wonder about at once. I become easily overwhelmed. You, too? Big hugs, Patti — big, big hugs to you! ๐Ÿฅฐ๐Ÿฅฐ๐Ÿฅฐ

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      1. Oh that might be one long cup of coffee!!!!! ๐Ÿ™‚ I am happy to add that I have made my peace with those years – and then some. Itโ€™s wonderful to be on the other side of what was a long road, but one I am so grateful to have navigated and ultimately, to have survived.
        And what an interesting question! I actually LOVE being in a crowd: I dearly love to people-watch and I tend to become very, very quiet (not unlike how I became as a child but without any of the fear) and I just quietly drink people in, one after another (and then want to rush home to write about it). I become SO quiet and SO immersed in my musings, though, that I almost feel invisible and I am actually surprised when people notice me – or remember me – at all. I am a true introvert but I do love that anonymous feeling of being surrounded. Not sure if my answer makes any sense or not…๐Ÿค”
        Biggest of big hugs back ๐Ÿ™‚๐Ÿ™‚๐Ÿ™‚

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        1. I get that — a big crowd gives camouflage! And yes…I think we might need a girlfriend sleepover in order to address all the fun topics. Thank you so much for the smiles this morning, Patti. You’re a love. xo! ๐Ÿ˜˜๐Ÿ˜˜๐Ÿ˜˜

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  7. Vicki, I guess “going with my gut” doesn’t sound as polished as intuition, but I suspect they are one and the same for me! I rely on my “spidey sense” often when meeting people, contemplating projects, making financial decisions, etc. I guess it has served me well, going with my first instincts. Sometimes the choice happens to also be the logical one, but I don’t go with the logical one in every instance. So far, so good. Enjoyed reading this!

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  8. I find that Iโ€™ll often start out saying I want to follow a structured approach with lots of data, but nah, I notice that I often get bored with all that. My reading on the feelings at play usually takes over. I used to think that I just wasnโ€™t logical enough. Iโ€™ve come a long way in trusting that intuition! We donโ€™t give that side of own personalities enough credit. Itโ€™s actually saved me plenty of times in my career. Yes, itโ€™s not always clear cut like data โ€ฆ but just valuable! Love this Vicki. Gives me anyway lots to think about and consider!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hear you. At times in my career, I longed to be more data-focused but my natural inclinations nudge me toward bigger picture views, and then I’ll add in data selectively. It’s wacky to say “I’ve got a hunch” because it’s not very share-able, if that makes sense? Thanks so much for your comment and sharing that I’m not the only one, Brian! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  9. I’ve always trusted my intuition. It hasn’t steered me wrong when meeting new people and allowing or not allowing them into my life. Also, it’s worked well for my husband and business because I can tell him who to steer clear of.

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    1. Sounds like you two are a terrific team! And the idea that we can…and should be…choosy about who we let into our lives really resonates for me. Thank you, Elizabeth! ๐Ÿ˜˜

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        1. I think it’s fun when we ‘find our people’…thanks for being a great blogging bud, even before we knew we had our “INFJ-ness” in common! Hope you have a great Monday, Todd. Xo! ๐Ÿ˜˜๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ˜˜

          Liked by 1 person

  10. I like to think Iโ€™m intuitive too, since I always get a bad feeling before something bad happens. But bad things always make for great stories so I often jump into these things head on anyways, lol. Thanks for this post!

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