Definition Of Intuition

A search for a definition of intuition will give a wide range of ideas:

  • Immediate apprehension or cognition
  • The power or faculty of attaining to direct knowledge or cognition without rational thought and inference
  • Quick and ready insight
  • Someone has an intuitive experience when he/she suddenly gets an insight or information about something without clear reasons.
  • from within, a clear knowing
  • instinctive knowing (without the use of rational processes)
  • the direct perception of meaning or truth, without conscious reasoning.
  • Immediate knowing of something without the conscious use of reasoning.

Note that many of these agree that it is very fast and that it does not involve rationalizing and conscious reasoning.

The following definitions of intuition are worthless in terms of practical usage:

  • act of direct observation associated with soul.
  • intuition is an inference that is validated by the thinker's belief systems.
  • knowing the unknowable
  • knowledge or conviction gained by intuition

Some definitions even suggest that intuition has nothing to do with the five senses, and then promptly point out how people have gut feelings, visions and how they are told things!


A practical definition of intuition

The following definition of intuition is close to something that we can use in developing intuition.

  • A form of evidence that is often referred to as a gut feeling, hunch, or the results of techniques such as praying or sleeping on the decision. It differs from common sense, which relies on someone's philosophy or personal perspective, rather a strong feeling about the correct decision path. Intuition can be seen as a very holistic decision making approach as it tries to consider and integrate information from all the senses.

We can refine this idea so that for our purposes a working definition of intuition is the ability to process information, both internal and external, that allows you to make great decisions.

There are several aspects of this definition of intuition that are useful to consider in a little more detail.

Firstly, the processing of information may not actually be a mental or cognitive process. Much of it may occur in the body, and indeed, for those with highly developed intuition, for example sports men and women, it occurs so fast in their body, they don't have time to think about it. Again, the definitions above agree that it is a rapid process, but do not go into detail as to how it occurs.

The information used is both internal and external. External data from the environment is utilized as well as the knowledge and experience from the past that is held internally.

And by great decisions, I mean those decisions that are appropriate for you right now and remain good decisions as you move into the future.

This definition of intuition is useful in that it is practical. We can use it to choose where to put attention to harness the power of intuition.

The skills

Learning how to pay attention to the information available, increasing awareness of how your system is operating and gathering more knowledge and experiences are all aspects of your intuition. Each of these is a skill set that can be improved deliberately and with practice.

Initially, it's useful to bring these things into awareness to develop the skill sets. And once they have been refined, they operate very rapidly and effectively without having to be aware of them at all.

Just consider the experts in any field, be it sports, expert thinkers, people who do physical jobs. What makes them experts is their ability to make decisions instantaneously, decisions that work.

And sometimes they do this with very little information, and it may even seem like they don't have the information yet, but when the information turns up they've already made the right decision. But because they have the knowledge and experience and they understand how to process the information of their particular domain, it almost seems magical or mystical.

But to the expert, their decisions make sense to them. And with our current understanding of how humans function, it's possible to work out specifically the strategies of the expert. What they see, what they feel, and what kind of things they say to themselves.

Likewise it's possible for anybody to work out their own individual strategies, although sometimes it easier for somebody else to point them out to you.

So a definition of intuition is only useful if it explains what goes on. It's even more useful if its of practical benefit in that it can be used to replicate or improve what it describes.


The definition

So our working definition of intuition here is:

  • The ability to very rapidly process information, physically and mentally, so that you can make effective and long lasting decisions that benefit you.

Learn more about improving these basic skills for yourself...

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