Why you can ALWAYS trust your intuition
Do you ever struggle with trusting your intuition? Second-guess yourself? Talk yourself out of taking bold action because you can’t logically explain or justify it?
Yeah, me too.
In one of my all-time favorite books, Self-Reliance, Ralph Waldo Emerson says,
“A man should learn to detect and watch that gleam of light which flashes across his mind from within, more than the lustre of the firmament of bards and sages. Yet he dismisses without notice his thought, because it is his.”
That “gleam of light” he speaks of shines from the darkest depths of your subconscious mind.
We call it intuition, gut feelings, hunches, premonitions, sudden insights that come from connecting dots and seeing a new perspective.
That gleam of light sparked Archimedes to leap from his bathtub and run through the streets naked shouting, “Eureka!” It shed light on a problem that had perplexed Einstein for years and revealed his theory of relativity.
That gleam of light has also given you and me flashes of insight that can alter the course of our lives — IF we watch for it and heed it when it comes.
The challenge is this: Many times those flashes of insight seem crazy to us. They don’t make any sense. We don’t see a way to practically implement them. There are too many unanswered questions.
And often, when we do follow the gleam, we end up on a dead-end wondering what the heck we were thinking. We trusted our intuition and we failed.
Then, when we fail, or things don’t work out as we had envisioned, we begin doubting our intuitions, distrusting our instincts.
I’m speaking from vast amounts of personal experience. In fact, I have often said that I have the worst instincts in the world — that my instincts have pretty much always turned out to be wrong.
That is, until something a friend told me completely transformed my perspective.
“You have to define what you mean by intuition,” he said, after I was bemoaning my “misguided” intuition that has always steered me “wrong.”
“Following intuition doesn’t mean that everything will work out right or just the way you want it to. Just because you start a business based on intuition doesn’t mean that business is going to succeed in a practical sense.
“The purpose of your intuition isn’t to always make the right decision, as defined by things manifesting in your external world exactly as you envision.
“The purpose of your intuition is to give you exactly what you need to learn in that moment.”
This is an absolute game-changer. What it means is this: Your intuition is ALWAYS right.
Your intuition will always give you exactly what you need to learn in order to progress.
Meaning you can always trust and follow those gleams of light down whatever path they shine on, no matter how crazy, illogical, impractical, insensible, or unreasonable it seems.
If that path does turn out to be a dead-end, practically speaking, its purpose was to teach you a lesson. You can bemoan the dead-end like a dense-headed dunce, or be ecstatic about the lesson like an open-minded genius.
It reminds me of a story about a young man walking down a path who encounters a wise old guru.
“Tell me,” the hopeful young man asked the guru, “where is success found?”
The guru said nothing, but pointed down the path.
The young man continued walking. It wasn’t long before the guru heard thuds and grunts, followed by screams, and then a loud “SPLAT!”
The young man plodded back to the guru. “Tell me,” he pleaded, “where can I find success?”
The old man smiled bemusedly and again, without a word, pointed back down the path.
The young man trudged down the path.
THUD. WHACK. BANG. Screams. SPLAT!
Again, the young man came crawling back to the guru. “Please,” he begged, “tell me where I can find success.”
Again, the old man pointed. Again, the young man stumbled down the path.
THUD. WHACK. BANG. Screams. SPLAT!!
Once more, the young man, bruised, broken, discouraged and disheartened, dragged himself to the guru. “For the last time,” he croaked, “please tell me where I can find success.”
The wise old guru grinned and said, “On the other side of SPLAT!”
Like that wise old man, your intuitions may lead you down strange paths to painful SPLATS.
But those SPLATS are precisely what teach you what you need to know and shape you into who you need to become in order to succeed.
Trust and follow those gleams of light down those dark and unknown paths — every time, without doubt, without hesitation.
And when the SPLATS come on those painful dead-ends, you can feel confident that you’re that much closer to success.