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How To Sharpen Your Intuition?

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by Sharon Langford

Intuition: that gut feel or small voice which suggests we do something - perhaps not what we were planning. It's difficult to quantify or qualify; there doesn't seem to be any hard data, we just get this message. Where does it come from? And should we rely on it; especially in business? Its one thing to have a 'hunch' to bet £10 on a race horse, another to invest your whole budget based on intuition.

How can we use it to help us?

The first challenge is to allow the intuitive thoughts to come through. Stop and listen out for them, sometimes the messages are very quiet; akin to listening for the noise of a cat's foot-fall on a busy street. For example, sometimes I just feel too tired to go to a networking meeting, then I'll get a sense that I really should go and, nine times out of ten, I've met a great contact who has been able to give me information I needed.

Sometimes, just as I'm leaving the office to run a workshop, I get a sense that I need to take an activity or handout; it's amazing how often I have needed that information. And, I can clearly remember times when I've 'dismissed' intuitive messages and fallen flat on my face as a result. I'm sure you have similar stories of times when you've followed, or not, an 'intuitive' message.

Intuition is a non-conscious process. Some of it is based on memory, tacit knowledge and emotionally significant events - 'stuff' that's already been part of our lives. The remainder is our senses unconsciously collecting data at that moment in time - perhaps someone is saying one thing yet our unconscious picks up a completely different message, it then just nudges us to let us know that all is well, or not, as the case may be.

Using and developing your intuition may take practice, especially if you are used to making decisions based on rational thought processes. And, if you're concerned that listening to your intuition may be a bit 'fluffy', be assured it is not the same as emotion. Emotional decisions are the ones which often cause the most difficulties; ignoring or not even hearing a 'don't do this' message and throwing yourself into a project because you have a strong emotional connection to someone or something associated with it. Both emotional feelings and rational thoughts can drown out intuitive messages - by giving your intuition a bit of air time, you will probably save yourself lots of time, money and energy.

Although intuition cannot be ignored, neither should it be followed blindly; use it as a double or even triple checking mechanism. And, if a message is very 'loud' and/or keeps popping into your mind then it's probably something you need to take notice of.

Here are a few ways to sharpen up your intuition

1. Quiet your rational mind; listen for the whispers of intuition

2. Listen for your intuition through the noise of your emotions.

3. Be curious and flexible - go with the flow

4. Notice how often you hear the same message

5. Take action on your intuitive thoughts; experiment with small things - if you get a sense to call someone, do - if you're drawn to a certain book on the shelf, pick it up and read it.

6. Make a note the times you've followed your intuition and it's been right - the more you use it the sharper it will become.

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