Why Intuition Is Your Most Powerful Tool In Facing Life's Challenges

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At times, intuition seems like a dirty word. We are creatures of reason. We think about what is the best thing to do, plan out a strategy, execute it and see the results.

With that line of thinking, the human species has moved from living in caves to our current advanced technological state.

The idea of using our gut and instincts instead of thinking and planning is usually deemed a silly idea.

In Stephen Colbert’s famous White House Correspondents’ speech of 2006, he savaged the Bush administration by claiming, “We're not members of the factinista. We go straight from the gut.”

While the idea of the unfeeling, reasoning man may be popular in certain circles, reason cannot solve everything.

In fact, what some people may call reason is actually your brain rationalizing a decision you already subconsciously reached.

True thinking is not just deciding whether something is good or bad.

True thinking is about looking at every possible factor when you’ve reached a problem or fork in the road and then determining what the best choice is.

That does not mean reaching for a phone psychic to make your decision.

You may see just choices A and B with your reasoning, but your gut can show you choice C, which you would never think about otherwise.

Nowhere is the power of the gut, instinct and intuition more apparent than in the world of sports. Sports, in a way, is humanity in its purest form.

There are no clever words to hide behind, and money, greed or the million other things that can corrupt the human soul do not show up on the field itself. There are just a few players, the crowd and some equipment.

And all coaches want is for their players not to think. If a player has to think about how he wants to kick the ball into the net, shoot a jump shot or pass the ball for the touchdown, he has already lost.

If he does, his thinking will muddle the results because he already has to deal with the opponent, the pressure of the game, his weary body and the hostile crowd. He will make mistakes, and his team will lose.

Something like this occurred in the 2011 NBA Finals. LeBron James and the Miami Heat were the favorites against Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks.

But, Dallas won the championship series 4-2. One of the biggest differences was that Miami faded in the fourth quarter time and time again. LeBron, in particular, was a disaster during those finals, scoring well below his normal averages.

Sportscasters and analysts all over the world attacked LeBron for his lack of will and heart. But Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban had a different response.

In an incredible argument, Cuban savaged ESPN analyst Skip Bayless, by observing that “just forcing [LeBron] to make a decision, to think about what he had to do […] gave us a chance to adjust.”

The Dallas Mavericks forced LeBron to think and not rely on his gut. And so they won.

The thing about your gut is that it's about your ability to trust yourself.

Shortly after I left college, I received two offers. One was with a local firm, and the other was with a group halfway across the United States.

When I reasoned the advantages and disadvantages of each job with the other, they came out to be the same.

If I continued to reason, I would have taken the local job. It would have meant I would not have to move, and I could continue taking a steady route into the world.

But, my gut said to take the plunge and the move. It was about more than just what felt right.

Thanks to my gut, I asked if I trusted myself to adjust to a new and unfamiliar place, if I could trust myself to do what was necessary to get ready for the job and the new opportunities there.

By searching within my heart, by examining my intuition and gut, I was able to answer I could do it.

And so I made the move, and I have never regretted my decision since.

Reason is indeed a powerful force, but for any society to function, trust must be present.

When you get on the morning train and see a swarthy man clutching a large suitcase, your reason may tell you it is unlikely there is a bomb inside.

But, it is your gut and will that will conquer your fear and give you the trust that you will not be blown up.

Trust is the cornerstone of society, and trusting yourself is the linchpin of a healthy mind. And, trust comes from the power of your gut.