Using your intuition to navigate life

In his book “Nature is your guide: How to find Your Way on Land and Sea” the author-navigator Harold Gatty claims that there is no such thing as a sense of direction. He explains that a person who appears to have such  a “sense” is actually using their five ordinary senses (seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and feeling), informing and informed by their experience and intelligence.

Today we have GPS satellite navigation, Google maps, compasses and numerous other technologies, yet we still rely on our senses for our day-to-day orientation. Whether we’re walking on a street, driving to a friend’s house or just moving around, we’re supported in our journeys by our five senses, our intelligence and our experience.


But we find challenging to differentiate our internal voice to rationality.

As a culture, we have learned to believe that rationality is what should prevail when making decisions about anything from crucial business mergers to what to eat for lunch. But what of that “inner voice”, that gut feeling, that little something instinctual from within that tells us how we feel beneath those layers of logic?

Instinct and intuition, can be described as:

• Instinct is our innate inclination toward a particular behavior (as opposed to a learned response).
• A gut feeling—or a hunch—is a sensation that appears quickly in consciousness (noticeable enough to be acted on if one chooses to) without us being fully aware of the underlying reasons for its occurrence.
• Intuition is a process that gives us the ability to know something directly without analytic reasoning, bridging the gap between the conscious and nonconscious parts of our mind, and also between instinct and reason.

In essence, we need both instinct and reason to make the best possible decisions for ourselves, our businesses, and our families. Unfortunately, many of us—even when we experience success using this lesser acknowledged part of us-are uncomfortable with the idea of using our instincts as a guidance tool. We are embarrassed to say that we follow hunches, we mistrust the sometimes-cryptic messages that our instincts send to us, and consequently we diminish our capacity to leverage the power of our own instincts when we need them most. Our discomfort with the idea of relying on our instincts is based on millennia of cultural prejudice.

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