Intuition and Instinct, Our Friends

Say the word 'intuition,' and some cringe. It sounds too new-age, too touchy-feely. Its close cousin instinct sounds animalistic.

Western culture tends to denigrate information that comes to us through means other than logic, reason and analysis.

Yet, intuition and instinct can save us from hassle and heartache, lead us to happiness, even save our lives.

Here's a real life example.

A number of years ago I was driving in Manhattan on a Saturday night. The light was green. I was crossing Second Avenue, when out of the corner of my eye I saw a car approaching the intersection from my left running his red light.

I had about a quarter of a second before impact. There was no time for to think, no time for fear. only time to act.

I gunned the gas.


My car was lifted into the air, spinning as I was jerked around in a crazy carnival ride.

The impact was on the left side of the car. I was in the middIe of the intersection when I felt the impact.

I saw the driver's side window dissolve. The impact was so great that when I landed, the car was on the sidewalk facing into the street. Its back lay just inches away from the traffic light.

My car was in ruins but the seatbelt held firm. I walked out with nothing more than a few minor scratches.

When I gunned the gas, my car advanced just enough so the impact of the other vehicle was to the rear passenger seat; not the driver's seat where I was sitting.

That action saved me from, at minimum, serious physical injury.

It was an action of sheer instinct - coming from the "right side of the brain."

From time to time we are all called to make snap judgments, we have all gotten a bad feeling about a person, a situation.

We've all uttered the phrase, "I can't put my finger on it, but ?" And more often than not, later on, our apprehensions are confirmed by events.

That is our intuition talking.

So ... Are you listening?

Your ability to size up people in a first impression is, in part, the result of your taking in the person's body language, dress and demeanor on an unconscious level. Although I think there is more to it than that, the question of what makes up intuition is beyond the scope of this article.

Nonetheless, intuition speaks to us in many ways.

It can be the reaction of your body to a person or a situation.

You tense up around threatening people.

You experience an uneasy feeling in the pit of your stomach when you have to operate in a situation where something is "not quite right." Sure, it looks fine on the surface, but there's more to the story than meets the eye.

Intuition works the other way, too. Some people and places feel easy and comfortable. We feel strong and recharged around them.

They are good for us. We just accept it. We feel no need to question.

There are many applications to the use of intuition in our personal and business lives. We tend do well in settings and around people that support our abilities and support us emotionally.

Your intuition can be a divining rod leading you to those settings. By monitoring your feelings, your reactions, your energy levels, you can determine whether something or someone is good for you.

A feeling of uneasiness, queasiness should serve as a red flag when, say taking on a new client, a new project, a new partner, a new job. Then it is time to call in your powers of logic, observation and analysis to ferret out the reasons why you are feeling this way.

More often than not, your gut will warn you before you are able to see the landmine.

I suggest looking at intuition and logic as two complementary ways of processing information. If the two aren't pointing in the same direction, more likely than not, you don't have all of the information.

Proceed with caution.

And when they do point the same way, you can be confident that you on the right track.

Then it's full steam ahead.

Ellen Zucker's site provides articles and resources to help the creative sole-proprietor earn a living and create a life.

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