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Personal Development

How to Develop Your Intuition

Caterina Rando shows how you can develop your intuition, unlocking your inner power and helping you to Think Differently
Seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, tasting—we all know how our five senses perceive the world. But all of us have at least one more, an internal tool of perception—our intuition. Sometimes you might have a thought that you cannot justify in logical terms. For example, you might feel, as someone is talking, a physical sensation that makes you aware, that the truth is being withheld. Or maybe sometimes you act without thinking—perhaps reaching out to catch a falling object before your conscious mind even realizes what is happening. These are both examples of intuition, which comes either as instinctive thoughts in our mind or as visceral feelings in our body.

‘Intuition is a spiritual faculty and does not explain, but simply points the way.’

Florence Scovel Shinn, American Illustrator and Metaphysicist

Often when I have been coaching a client, a question has popped up in my head, sending the conversation to a deeper level and revealing a major challenge in the client’s life, which otherwise would have gone unacknowledged.

The next time when you are talking to someone and a thought comes unbidden into your head, share it. It may turn out to be the turning point of the conversation. You might say, “I have an unrelated thought I would like to bounce off you,” or “I have the sense that …”. In this way you will start to trust and use your intuition. Power thinking cannot depend on reason alone: it involves using your full toolkit of perception. Just as emotion can distort our responses, intuition can sharpen them.

Develop your intuition with this exercise

To develop your intuition, try an empathetic approach to conversations with people you are friendly with yet do not know very well. You might have such a conversation with a fellow guest at a party or someone you chat with at the coffee machine at work.

1. Focus entirely on the other person as you talk. Stop any internal chatter in your head.

2. Ask personal questions that will elicit more than just a “yes” or “no”. For example, “What challenges are you facing these days?” or “What are you looking forward to?” How well you know the person will determine the level of intimacy—remember to respect people’s boundaries and their right to decline to answer.

3. Listen between the lines as the person responds. What are their body language and tone of voice telling you? Do you sense something that they are not saying?

4. If you have an intuition, consider sharing it. Express your ideas tactfully, as possibilities. For example, “Do I sense you might be worried about that?” is better than “You’re worried about that, aren’t you?”—which might make the person feel defensive.

5. If your intuitive impressions were correct—well done! Regardless of how accurate you are, if you offer your insights with a view to being of service to other people, they should be well received. Do this exercise in a spirit of compassion and magnanimity.

Vicky Hartley is the Marketing Director and Head of Digital for Watkins Publishing Limited (including Duncan Baird Publishers)