Last week we explored the perils of quick thinking. We discovered that many of our intuitive first impressions fall prey to biases that make them poor judgments. So, in this week’s post, I want to examine two causes of intuitive errors and what you can do to increase intuitive accuracy.
This past month, I’ve been working on an e-book cover as part of an online course. E-books are something that we may get into here at The Mind-Body Training Company, so I’m learning how to go about creating them. Part of this project has been soliciting the opinions of others to get feedback on what I’m doing. This is a great way to check my intuitive judgments and fine-tune them. It’s a powerful learning process.
One thing I’ve learned is to watch out for two common mistakes when it comes to following my intuition. First, is becoming too emotionally attached to what comes to me intuitively. Second, is to be wary of jumping to conclusions based on limited information.
To understand these points better, two places where these errors seem especially prevalent are judgments we make in politics and in picking stocks for investment. For most of us, judgments in these fields are highly influenced by emotional attachment and sorely lacking in sufficient evidence. Even the experts in these arenas fall prey to those two biases. For the rest of us, we may as well be throwing darts.
So, in my creative process, I want to be wary of falling into those two traps. I would describe my creative process as highly intuitive—so it lends itself to those errors.
My creative efforts are most always initially prompted by experiences working with clients around a certain issue. In response to what they are going through, I find myself inspired with words, images, and techniques that just seem to pour out “when they are ready.” When that time comes, I need to be ready to take down what is coming through. I would describe this as an initial intuitive information download related to that topic.
I then prune what has come through based on past experiences working with clients around this issue. This gives me a pretty good sense about what might work and what probably doesn’t. I use what I’ve learned to check and shape my initial intuition into something that makes sense and holds promise for being productive. I then fit that into formats and language that I’ve learned work well for communicating this material to others. This is stage two. I’m learning more about that all the time.
My third stage is to submit this “work in progress” to several others and see how it comes across to them. I did this through many successive rounds of suggestions and revisions with this e-book cover. It’s amazing to discover what I am assuming that I don’t realize I’m assuming. It’s also fascinating to see how others interpret what I’ve put out there—in other words, what is communicated to them. I am always surprised at what jumps out for someone else that I’ve never thought of. When I can let go of being attached to the work as if it is “mine,” this is a really fun, creative process.
So what am I learning?
First is that, in my field, in other words in a body of knowledge that I know well because I’ve been involved with it for decades, my intuition comes up with some good rough directions. It gives me a starting point and sets me into action.
Second, it’s important not to get too locked onto the fine details of my first impressions, but to be open to learning and discovering more. In other words, it’s important to keep taking in more information as I pursue the direction that my intuition has sent me along. As I take the actions prompted by my intuition, observing the results and consequences of these actions leads me to fine tune my initial ideas.
Third, ongoing conversations with others are essential to shape the project into a final result that is effective and communicates well. It’s so easy to think that my point of view is self-evident or that it applies to everyone. Getting feedback from others shows me assumptions I am making that aren’t true for others. It also helps me adjust what I am doing so that it is useful to someone besides myself.
You can apply these three insights to fine tune your intuitive guidance in whatever you are doing:
1. Understand that your intuition is going to be most effective in things that you know really well.
2. Your first intuitive impressions are starting points. Intuition can give you a good general direction to get you going. It’s then important to continuously check and fine tune what you’re doing as you move forward. In other words, don’t get too attached to the details of your first idea. Just use it to get you started.
3. Solicit the insight of others. Engage in true dialogue, to show you your blind-spots and increase the effectiveness of what you’re doing.
Intuition combined with real world feedback and conversations with others can grow your first impressions into creations that make a real difference.
What do you want to grow in your life and/or share with the world?
We all need what you have to offer!