The Simple Elegance of
Intuitive Decision Making
By Angela Artemis
I often marvel at how we tend to complicate things. Especially things that are meant to be simple like intuition. Our intuition is a thinking process that takes place beneath the surface of our awareness. It’s not magical but, there are times it sure feels like it!
Recent scientific findings support the existence of the “intuitive thinking process.” When you need to act quickly and make decisions in emergency situations, often intuitive thinking takes over. Your intuition is a thought or idea that has been stripped of all the “fat” leaving only the “meat” behind. Emotions, extraneous information and what we think we “should” do are stripped away. What you are left with is the core truth of the idea.
In our normal day to day thinking process we put the “fat” right back in. Discerning what is important and sifting through our emotions complicates our decision making. Intuition is simple and elegant because all of the extraneous influences are distilled from the thought leaving only “the facts.”
Your intuition results from your subconscious filing away all kinds of information your conscious mind overlooked or has forgotten. Think of it as a built-in alarm system. You might not have seen that stranger lurking in the shadows of the parking lot but, your subconscious picked it up. Suddenly you feel as if you’re being watched. The hairs on the back of your neck stand up and you turn around to see if there is someone there.
Your intuition can and does warn you of all kinds of things. Do you recall that fleeting thought that passed through your mind just as you were taking that first bite of chicken that later caused your food poisoning? The thought was brief but the message was clear, “Was this defrosted properly? Maybe I shouldn’t eat it?” But, your rational mind kicked right in and you thought, “I thawed frozen chicken like this dozens of times and it’s always been fine.” Later, when you are sick as a dog you recall the thought you had warning you, and wish you had listened!
Often problems occur because you allow your rational mind to dissuade you from listening to your intuition. It is the “interference” from the rational thinking mind which comes in and complicates things. So, in this example had you stopped at the intuitive thought and listened to it, you wouldn’t have eaten the chicken and got food poisoning. This happens again and again until we learn to pay attention to these “whispers.”
Our intuitive thinking process sends us nuggets of wisdom that we ignore in favor of adding all kinds of non-essential thoughts to the mix, causing errors in our judgment.
The other day a friend was telling me that she was considering two jobs. Two days later she called in a panic because she was now unsure as to whether she had chosen the right job to accept.
What went wrong?
She complicated the entire process with a lot of extraneous rationalizing about why she “should” take the first job with an “artsy” prestigious company instead of the second job requiring field work for a local health administration. When it came right down to it, these rationalizations had no real bearing on which job she would actually enjoy. In the end she realized the autonomy of working out in the field appealed to her much more than being stuck in an office all day.
Listen to that little voice
Do you remember the day you were walking your dog and noticed that a small chunk of the sidewalk around your property was damaged? One week later your daughter trips on it and breaks her ankle. Suddenly, you recall your first thought upon seeing it, “I should get that fixed before someone falls and hurts themselves,” followed by, ‘but, it can probably wait until spring.” You remember that it kept “nagging” at you afterward each time you took the dog out too. You could just kick yourself now for putting off this repair!
The next time you hear that “little voice” when you are about to make a decision make sure you’re not tuning out your intuition. The intuitive mind always comes up with the simple and elegant solutions to whatever you are facing. Strip away all the rationalizations and focus on how the situation makes you feel. Chances are the answer that “feels” the best when you think about your decision later and leaves you feeling at peace and “settled inside” is the right choice.
Here’s how you can easily and quickly tap into the simple elegance of your intuition:
- Review the dilemma, problem or anything in your life you’re trying to make a decision about.
- Focus on your two top choices.
- Imagine that you have decided to go with the first choice. Be sure not to ask “which is the right decision.” You want to ask yourself how you would feel if you chose this option.
- Notice your feelings and the first thought that pops into your head while you imagine yourself having chosen the first option. Are you feeling anxious, contented, scattered, relieved, nervous or excited?
- Now do the same thing for the second option. How do you feel? Do you feel “settled” or “unsettled” about this option?
- Compare the two feelings and your first thoughts. The one that made you feel calm, comfortable, confident, at ease and settled about the matter is the right choice. Anything less than a complete feeling of acceptance without hesitation means that this is not the right one.
As soon as you become aware of its function and how elegantly it feeds you the answers to life’s problems, the sooner you can begin checking in with it when making decisions. And, when you do – you’ll find that you make the “right” decisions time and time again.
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