Can we guess what’s going to happen next? How about when watching a romantic comedy? A Marvel superhero film? What about when we see someone eating a sandwich at the beach, with seagulls flying overhead?
Confidence in our gut instinct may seem elusive—a luxury afforded only by the lucky. After all, trusting our gut instead of hard data is certainly not for the faint of heart. But if only the lucky can trust their gut, how did we know that the romcom protagonists would end up together? How did we know that Marvel film would culminate in a giant CGI battle with a light beam blasting into the sky? How did we know the person eating their sandwich was going to get swarmed by a descending storm of seagulls?
Our gut instinct, our intuition, is the voice of our subconscious feelings that run deeper than our understanding of numbers and data. Career coach Caroline Castrillon argues that success lurks not in luck, but in the balance between facts and feelings. After all, it wouldn’t be advisable to forsake all pertinent facts for the sake of hunches. Taking a deeper look at the influence of intuition, Castrillon notes a Navy study examining intuition and its potential gift of clairvoyance.
The age-old advice to follow our heart advocates for trusting our gut, for letting go of distracting thoughts and allowing ourselves to feel the right step forward. In this TED Talk, lecturer on technology trends, Patrick Schwerdtfeger discusses how soldiers predict hazards by feeling alone, Schwerdtfeger observes that this isn’t dissimilar to how we can predict when someone will change lanes without using their blinker (but please use the blinker!).
Schwerdtfeger describes this as “learned intuition.” This is the direct result of immersing ourselves within a situation. We’ve probably seen dozens of genre films and by now can anticipate the formula typically adhered to by each. We’ve learned the patterns of traffic along our commutes. We all have a wealth of data built upon specific experiences—experiences that have informed our instincts.
To trust our gut, all we need do is teach our gut. Submerge ourselves within the experience, and, with time, feel our way around. Silence everything else and listen for the oracular voice of intuition.
“Intuition is the whisper of the soul.”
— Jiddu Krishnamurti
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