I have recently become a little too intensely interested (aka obsessed) with intuition. I have always tried to outwit my intuition or my ‘gut feeling’, I have always been on the side of ‘benefit of the doubt’. I work in recruitment, and we coach managers not to use the phrase ‘my gut’ and to instead use competency-based reasoning, assessments to test competency, and a whole range of other factors to make their decisions rather than a gut feel.
As I’ve got older, I have realised that my passion to see the best in people, to ignore my gut feelings and get to know someone before believing my intuition, has 95% of the time backfired on me. In other words, when I felt someone was inherently bad or they were not my kind of person – I have ignored it. I have decided to get to know someone. The evidence is stacking up that I should pay more attention to my gut. It is, more often than not, correct.
However, why do I professionally advise against it? A lot of the human race mistake unconscious bias, a dislike for a personality trait, a reminder of someone they once knew, or a feeling someone doesn’t like them as ‘intuition’. The 5% of the time I have been wrong it was not intuition, instead, my emotions got involved. I think that level of self-awareness helps, but for my striving of perfection – I think being wrong 5% of the time makes me obsessed with making sure I know the difference between an emotional reaction and an intuitive one.
Just because you dislike a personality trait, does not always mean someone is a bad person. Professionally speaking hiring people different from you also helps your team growth. The same can be said on a personal level, someone challenging your personal beliefs is a good thing. It’s good to broaden your perspective if you are capable of listening and having a kind discussion about a subject area.
I have friends compliment me on my intuition after I have been proven correct. I used to only feel safe to say ‘I knew it, I always thought…’ but it’s easy to say post an event when you are proven right. I have friends that also say that I lose my intuition when it comes to people I date/care about. I don’t think it’s any coincidence that I have a lot of bad experiences at the hands of narcissistic personality types, they are the very best people at using EQ for bad, for picking up that I look for the best in people and saying all the right words to sweet talk me into believing that they are inherently good.
I had an experience in the last year of a person I met who I thought ‘fake AF/out for themselves’ when I met them. However, I gave them the benefit of the doubt. Turned out they were fake AF and essentially caused me a whole heap of trauma through turning themselves into a victim and turning lots of people against me. I even spent time defending them to other people; my, did that bite me on the ass! Sometimes I find it hard to believe that people are wired to purposely be ‘out to get you’. I still to this day try to rationalise this persons behaviour, and sometimes I think that just causes me more pain than is necessary.
Weirder still this year I have decided I don’t like someone I’ve not even met. The logical part of my brain is fighting me hard on this one, along with a few people I have confessed this to. I have been encouraged not to form an opinion until I really know them. How have I formed this opinion? A combination of what other people have said – and not even in a derogatory sense – just verbatim telling a story of what that person said or did with no ‘negative’ telling of the story.
It was cemented in the weirdest thing that has happened to me for a while. I walked down a street, I stopped in my tracks and knowing instinctively that the person lived in that street. I have since found out the exact place I stopped dead in my tracks was right outside where that person lives. I have never felt so freaked out by an experience. Does this prove my intuition right or does it mean that some weird coincidence happened at that precise moment in time? A couple of my friends have tried to tell me that I must have been told that person lives there – it is impossible – the stories I have been told were more things about what was said/done without a geographical reference.
Since I found out this weird fact I have been hell-bent on a scientific explanation as to how this happened. Maybe I should just let it go… but to be honest I have also had two almost premonition style dreams which also perplexed me over my lifetime. Where does this come from? What should you believe when these weird things happen to you?
I did a scientific degree, I believe in research – I know to test a theory before reaching a conclusion. Maybe I feel as crazy as Einstein (I am not comparing myself to Einstein) when he theorised about elements of quantum physics before it started being proven true. He knew it was a crazy notion (things like entanglement theory) and he thought himself crazy for believing it. Something in him knew it was correct before any evidence was thrown up. Intuition has always challenged my scientific brain, but as I am getting older I’m either getting lazier and deciding not to waste as much time into trying to prove myself wrong or I am noticing the pattern that my intuition is mostly right – and just noticing why I was wrong the other 5% of the time.
I’d love to hear from other people that have had premonitions or times they ignored their intuition to only find out they were right. This stuff fascinates me and has fascinated me further when I found out the ‘logical’ part of our brain is younger than our ‘gut’ part of our brain. We were emotional/sensory beings first before logic kicked in, while logic is great in some cases, a lot is to be said for trusting your gut. The emotional part of our brain has been around for longer, and therefore should it be trusted more? But, if this was true, why would we evolve to have a logical part of our brain? Food for thought.