I teach problem-solving in my courses and preach that intuition is a good thing – not flying by the seat of your pants — but rather, sub-consciously tapping into your cognitive storehouse of education, experiences and emotions.
The more you learn, the more you practice and the more you discipline yourself mentally … the better you get as a problem-solver.
Digging deeper, I came across an interesting article in Inc., positing that intuition is evident in 4 distinct types of “thinking preferences” which are naturally intuitive in different ways…
Let’s run through the 4 types of thinking preferences:
Social thinkers tend to be intuitive by nature. This makes sense, as their thinking revolves around people and relationships, which are not exactly quantifiable. Generally, you can feel good about trusting the social thinkers’ guts when it comes to people-related issues.
Conceptual thinkers may not be able to “show their work” or otherwise explain why they know something. Having a lot of conceptual thinking in your brain is like being the person who could answer the math problem without showing the teacher how you arrived at the answer. They just know. The dots are all connected inside their mind. As long as they understand, that’s good enough.
Analytical thinkers are the opposite of social thinking with regard to intuition. After all, why on earth would anyone make a decision based on anything but sound logic and data analysis? They’d rather have all the information and make a decision from there. But when they have to go with their guts they are actually more accurate than they think because their gut filters through the logical neural-pathways of their brain.
Structural thinkers are often intuitive about time and dates. They are likely to have a good sense of how long a project will take, how long a meeting will last, or what time to leave for an appointment across town. Don’t have a structural preference? Pay attention to someone in your office/home who does. They have the innate ability to understand these things and can help prevent you from putting too many things to do in one day.
If you can slot yourself in one of the thinking categories, you can develop a better sense of when to go with your intuition … you know, when go with your gut.