“A fact is a fact,” people are fond of saying; they use that notion as rationale for decision-making that is deliberately non-intuitive. Yes, some facts are provable—a stone is a stone—but many things in life that are passed off as facts are actually impressions of what is true or real, and they are subject to interpretation. I believe, accordingly, that all decisions, even those supposedly based only on facts, are at bottom intuitive.
Trusting my intuition has helped to make my career a successful one; I have often made choices based on my gut feelings, and have been rewarded in consequence.
The important concept here is trusting your intuition. Let’s suppose, for the sake of argument, that choices based on logic are correct only 50 percent of the time. If intuition, added to logic, gains you an extra 1 percent, then you will be right more times than others who don’t add a factor for intuition. That added 1 percent difference can certainly be the margin necessary for success, particularly since you have to make many, many decisions, about matters large and small, every minute of every waking hour of your life.
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It is hard for me to precisely express this, but I believe strongly that trusting one’s own intuition is a foundation for success in any endeavor.
I’m also a believer in what I call “negative intuition,” by which I mean the act of deliberately not trusting one’s own intuition. I’ve seen negative intuition in action many times in other people, and have become convinced that negative intuition is what prevents people from achieving at the highest levels. Their intuition may tell them what to do, but they don’t trust their gut and so, very often, they make the opposite choice, deciding to go 180 degrees away from what their gut tells them. Quite often, this counterintuitive choice brings them no joy.
I’m certain that you, too, have encountered such reflexively counterintuitive people: after dealing with them once or twice, you can count on whatever they say or do to be mostly the wrong thing, the very opposite of what should be said or done. To me, such bad decisions are the mark of someone who has succumbed to “negative intuition.” This negative attitude only worsens as the individual ages and continues to resist following his first impressions because he or she feels those impressions have so often been wrong in the past.