I've heard it said that men and women start to become great when they begin to listen to their inner voice, or their intuition. "Go with your gut", my Dad used to say.
It is true that intuition is so powerful that it has been studied and written about for thousands of years by some of the greatest men and women in history.
Intuition has been called the "still, small voice within." You may experience your intuition as a gut feeling, as an inner sense of what is right or wrong for you. Sometimes, your intuition manifests itself as a hunch or an inspiration.
Often, it comes as a flash of insight. Your intuition leads you to new ideas, concepts, and breakthroughs. Sometimes, an intuitive flash will enable you to see a problem from a new perspective and allow you to solve it on a completely different level.
Einstein was referring to intuition when he said, "No problem can be solved on the same level at which you meet it."
Well, since it's true that the more you do what you're doing, the more you'll get of what you've got, trying to solve your current problem at your current level is often an exercise in frustration.
Sometimes, you can unlock your intuition by using your imagination to think about your problem in a totally different way. You've heard it referred to as "thinking outside the box" among others. Just remember, as I mentioned in an earlier column, be careful what you buy into and act upon. When you hear something, make sure it makes good sense, and then try it. If it works, run with it. If it doesn't work, dump it and run from it.
I did a bit of research on this and discovered that there are two major forms of imagination, both of which require the highest use of intuitive powers.
They are synthetic imagination and creative imagination.
Synthetic imagination is your ability to assemble existing pieces of knowledge and information you have and put it into new forms.
It is much like taking all the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, having a clear idea of the picture that you want, and assembling the pieces into a single finished product.
This form of imagination is often called "integrative intelligence," and it's one of the highest recognized forms of intelligence. Integrative intelligence is defined as the ability to integrate a large number of pieces of information into a single precept for decision and action. It is your ability to recognize and sort many different facts and insights, accepting some and discarding others, in the process of making the correct decision.
This form of intelligence is extremely valuable in fast-moving, fluid situations that require you to consider many different pieces of information in making a decision. It has been estimated that you need between 20,000 and 50,000 bits of information at your disposal to be successful in any field of endeavor. Fortunately, we live in the information age, and knowledge is the raw material of production in this age. So, the more pieces of information you have, the more effective your integrative intelligence, or synthetic imagination, will be.
The people who rise to the top of any field of endeavor are invariably those who know more than others. In fact, the division in our society today is not between those who "have more" and those who "have less" but, rather, between those who "know more" and those who "know less." You must continually be gathering additional bits of practical and useful information so you have plenty of ideas and concepts to draw upon when you are wrestling with any problem or striving toward any goal. Your intuition then goes to work for you by helping you quickly sort out the relevant facts and giving you the answers you need when you need them.
I had mentioned once about the numerous blogs that I subscribe to. "Social interaction and the relationship to applied thermodynamics" comes to mind. You'd be amazed what insights you can get from such a thread of information and how you can apply those concepts in so many different areas.
The more ideas you expose yourself to, the greater the probability that the right idea will appear at the right time. When it does, your intuition will help you recognize the idea and integrate it into whatever you are trying to accomplish.
The second form of imagination is creative imagination. This is a higher form of imagination, where intuition plays an even more important role. Creative imagination refers to your ability to come up with complexly new and different ideas and concepts to solve your problems and achieve your goals. This form of imagination is at the core of all the great breakthroughs in science, technology, art, music, literature, and medicine. The most successful individuals throughout history have been those who have deliberately trained themselves to tap into their creative imagination on a regular basis.
Men and women who have a highly developed imagination have often reached the point where they completely trust their intuition - their inner voice - to guide them in every situation. The never speak or act until they feel an inner urging to do so. They know that their intuition will always bring them exactly the right answer at exactly the right time.
Your intuition is your direct pipeline to a form of intelligence that is completely beyond your conscious brain. It is accessed by your subconscious mind, which is controlled by the thoughts you think and the beliefs you hold in your conscious mind. The more often you affirm and visualize your desired goals in your conscious mind, the more readily they are picked up by your subconscious mind, and the more rapidly your intuition or creative imagination is triggered.
Successful, effective, happy people are those who have gotten onto the beam of their own intuitive senses and who rely continuously on their inner guidance - and they seldom make mistakes.
All the great writers, composers, artists, and scientists have developed the habit of listening to their intuition. You have access to the same intuitive powers as the smartest men and women who ever lived whether you realize it at this point or not.
Research shows that men and women, tested separately, have intuitions that are equally accurate. They seem to come up with the same intuitive answers to complex problems and questions. Why is it, then, that women's intuition is more respected than men's? The answer is simple: Women listen to their intuition more, while men tend to brush it aside. When a woman says, "This situation doesn't feel right," she perceives this feeling as a valid and important assessment of whether the situation is right or wrong. Women are generally very respectful of their intuitive feelings, and they generally refuse to go against them. Men will often brush aside their intuitive leanings in favor of a short-term conscious solution, only to pay the price later.
Perhaps the best method for stimulating your intuition is to practice solitude on a regular basis. Throughout the ages, the greatest thinkers practiced solitude regularly in their work and life. They took time to be alone with themselves. They went off and sat quietly prior to any situation of importance. Most of the great thinkers of today continue to use solitude as an essential tool in developing the creative insights and intuitions that often have the power to change lives.
Most people have never practiced solitude because they wrongly believe that they have no time for it. However, one good idea that comes to you in the silence of solitude can save you a year of hard work. With that in mind, it would seem that you cannot afford not to practice solitude on a regular basis.
Solitude requires no energy, no effort, no trying at all. It simply requires a state of relaxed awareness in which you open your mind to your greater intelligence. And, at the right moment, exactly the right answer you need will come to you in exactly the right form. I see you nodding your head. It's happened to you before, hasn't it?
You can overcome any obstacle, solve any problem, or achieve any goal by tapping into the incredible powers of your mind and by trusting your intuition. Once you begin to develop and use your intuition, you will become more alert, more aware, smarter, and more effective in everything that you do.
Here's a quick recap on the two forms of imagination:
Synthetic Imagination is your ability to assemble existing pieces of knowledge and information into new forms. It is much like taking all the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, having a clear idea of the picture that you want, and assembling the pieces into a single finished product. The more ideas you expose yourself to, the greater the probability that the right idea will appear at the right time.
Creative Imagination is a higher form of imagination resulting in complexly new and different ideas and concepts to solve your problems and achieve your goals. This form of imagination is at the core of all the great breakthroughs in science, technology, art, music, literature, and medicine. The most successful individuals are those who can deliberately tap into their creative imagination on a regular basis.
Listen to your inner voice and what it's telling you. Listen to what it's saying about your life, your relationships, your career and your future. It's trying to tell you something.
Listen....and then, go with your gut.