While most of us think that making decisions rationally--with piles of statistics and numbers and other evidence to back us up--is the best way to go, in reality, this is often not the case. Research says that when we tap into our intuition, the decisions we make can be both faster and more accurate.
In her book, Put Your Intuition to Work, intuition expert Lynn Robinson explains that some of the greatest business leaders rely on their intuition to make important decisions.
- "On many occasions I have followed my intuition; you can't make decisions based on numbers and reports alone." --Richard Branson
- "I've trusted the still, small voice of intuition my entire life. And the only time I've made mistakes is when I didn't listen." --Oprah Winfrey
- "I began to realize that an intuitive understanding and consciousness was more significant than abstract thinking an intellectual logical analysis." --Steve Jobs
Here, according to Lynn Robinson, are 7 ways to jump-start your intuition when you have only 5 minutes or less.
Taking even just a few minutes to calm your mind can work wonders. Find a quiet place, focus on your breathing, and repeat to yourself a phrase that makes you feel calm and at peace--perhaps something like "It's all good" or "I am at peace." Slowing down allows you to hear the intuitive voice within you.
2. Ask your intuition questions
Robinson suggests asking yourself open-ended questions that require more than just a yes or no response. After you ask yourself these questions, Robinson says, and "Spend your remaining time writing any and all answers that pop into your mind. Don't censor or judge the responses until you've completed the exercise."
3. Ask for an image
Try creating a picture of the solution in your mind. Intuition doesn't always speak in words--sometimes it comes to us in visual images.
4. Get moving
Don't just sit there--do something! Take a walk and get more oxygen into your brain. The results may surprise you.
Despite the bad rap that daydreaming gets--particularly while we're in school--it's actually a very powerful intuitive tool. I personally get my best ideas when I'm in the shower--hot water pouring over my head, with my mind wandering wherever it wants to go.
6. Notice how it feels
Lynn suggests this process when making an important decision: "Close your eyes and imagine saying yes. How does that decision feel? How do you feel emotionally?" If the feelings are negative, then say no. If the feelings are positive, then say yes.
7. What's your body say?
Does the decision make you feel nervous? Cold? Does it cause you to break into a sweat? Your body is telling you NO. If your body feels warm and contented, then your body is telling you YES.