6th Jun, 2019
What is Intuition?
What does the word intuition mean? I have this gut feeling, I got saved by my guardian angel, my eye twitches when there is something wrong, I feel the chill on my spine, I smell something wrong, I have a hunch, etc. All these are nothing but your Intuitions. That is the meaning of Intuition. Before going in deep about intuition, please read this blog.
It's your brain, trying to communicate a prediction by different means. It's not always a gut feel for everyone. There are five types of senses and they are Visual(see), Auditory(hear), Kinaesthetic(feel), Olfactory(sense of smell) and Gustatory (taste). Intuition happens in different parts of the body for different people and it depends on which is the heightened sense for them. For some it could be a voice they hear, for some, it could be a plan they see, for some, it’s a gut feeling, for some it’s a sense of smell and so on and so forth. So, it's not always a gut feel for everyone.
What's the prediction all about? Where does the data come from for this prediction? How do I know if my hunch(intuition) is right? We all have these questions and trying to understand more on intuition. Let's have a detailed look.
Let's take an example that you read a book which has more than 150 pages. You read them completely, and how much you actually remember? It's impossible that anyone remembers all the 150 pages, word by word. Does that mean you do not have the essence of the book or what it has to offer? You do have all the information you read but the information which you can readily access is very less. The information which made sense to you stays in the subconscious for faster access and rest of the information goes to the unconscious where information retrieval is hard but it is there.
(Note: There are theories out there calling out the non-existence of Subconscious, where Sigmund Freud call it as Preconscious. Let's not get there as it needs deeper understanding.)
Let's take the example of getting an intuition about rain while it looks sunny outside. You never know whether it will rain or not. You have a choice. Either you can take an umbrella/jacket and proceed or choose to ignore and leave. But, what if you took the umbrella and it rains? Do you have a theory that can prove your intuition? It's all about the empirical data which your brain holds. Observation of similar weather pattern at this time of the year (or) information received in a weather announcement which you weren't paying attention to etc. You can validate your intuition but you cannot understand how it is predicted.
Like how data analytics works, your brain works the same way. It takes a while to figure out perfect predictions based on the huge data available in your brain. One has to validate their intuitions every time to make it perfect and correct. You could have noticed certain people whose intuitions are always correct in the workplace or in your friend's circle or in your relations. They frequently validate their intuition to make it right. I myself know of people whose intuitions are to the point.
Where does intuition come from?
The brain is a supercomputer of supercomputers and it keeps learning and learning. Predictions are based on a bunch of formulae but they aren't right from the first. They learn, tweak and change every now and then based on the validation of intuition. The process of letting the intuition out of validation is called blurting. Whenever you have an intuition, you should let it out. If it involves other people, you should ask them if your intuition is correct. Blurting helps you in coming up with correct intuitions. The perfect formulae are created by lots of tweaking.
Power of Intuition
What is intelligence? Intelligence is the ability to receive and process information. Can intelligence be developed? How intelligent were you when you were young? How intelligent are you now? Yes, it can be developed. Intuition can be developed to perfection over a period of time and that's why it is called intuitive intelligence.
Not to mention, intuition is highly logical and is purely analytical. How do I know if my intuition is right? You don’t. Do not run behind and spend more time invalidating your intuition. It’s just a hunch that you get, use that awareness to your benefit.
Intuition in Coaching
In Coaching, during a conversation with your coaching client, your intuition guides you towards helping your client move towards the action they need. Trust your intuition when it gives you the necessary awareness. From identifying the missing information in the conversation until what coaching techniques to use in the current context, intuition could help you with all that you need. You might surprise yourself what you say at times because you did not plan to deliver that piece of the statement but it happened anyways. It’s your very intuition.
In conversations, people say something, but their body language says something else. It easy to observe and get an understanding of what is happening currently. Let your intuition guide you in becoming a better coach by helping your clients achieve the results they want.
As a professional, how does my intuition is going to help me?
If you want to be a great Scrum Master, you need to rely on your wits. Intuition is the wit that is going to guide you. Good to know, but how? You need to be on top of things when it comes to working with teams. You cannot always expect team members to come and tell you their problems, you need to let your intuition guide you. Ask questions to yourself and let your intuition answer them. Will my team able to pull this off? Will they be able to deliver the sprint goal? Why there is a sudden increase in velocity last sprint and this sprint? How do I know if things are going in the right way? Trust your intuition.
The one role, who totally relies on intuition is the developers whose work is more technical in nature. They work in implementing complex business logic. I have personally seen developers talking to themselves, staring at the wall for a brief period of time before they continue to code and there are other things they do when they are coding. They are working with their intuition in their own ways.
One good example is getting an answer to the problem at the workplace during sleep or during an unexpected time. How is that possible? At the back of their mind, the problem is getting solved by different possibilities. When the conscious mind is at rest, the subconscious mind is too active. So, great problems are solved in dreams or in some form during sleep.
Blurting out is the best way to develop your intuition. Every time you get an intuition, validate it. The formulae get better only if you test them out. Anything which hasn’t been used becomes rusty and so does your intuition. If you do not use your intuition frequently, you will lose it on a longer run. Start using it and let your intuition guide you better to be a better you.