Follow Your Instincts

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The most perceptive people in my life have been given one of the greatest gifts of all: intuition. I would argue that intuition is our sixth sense. Intuition can’t be measured, it doesn’t appear as a number, but those who have it believe they can feel its presence as a guide and instinct. Many years ago, the famous French writer Madeleine L’Engle said: “Don’t try to comprehend with your mind. Your minds are very limited. Use your intuition.”

She was right.

There are things we know and feel. They may be good or bad, but more often than not, they are real. Is it reasonable to feel good things are coming and wrong to feel bad things that may happen? I suppose “it depends.” But more often than not, intuition like sound or smell is there and we can accept it, and be thankful for it, or disregard it and push it away.

I can’t say I like the sound of Heavy Metal music coming from a neighbor’s party at 2:00 a.m. or the smell of a piece of salmon forgotten at the back of the refrigerator, but if I push those senses away, what about hearing a beautiful jazz saxophone or smelling the first roses of summer?  What happens when we turn our back on intuition completely?


Gut Feeling

It is actor Alan Alda (one of my favorites) who said: “At times you have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover is yourself.”

Unfortunately, a lot of us are so lost in our emotions that we have ignored the beauty of our sixth sense. We are no longer involved in the discovery of ourselves, and intuition has been placed on the back burner.

No less than the prestigious psychological journal Frontiers in Psychology presented an in-depth article entitled “Losing Your Gut Feelings. Intuition in Depression.” The paper explores the profound link between depression and intuition. The more a person is depressed, the less likely he or she is intuitive about life. This is a real thing. Psychologists tell us that our very emotions cause us to lose the many beautiful colors and nuances of life that perceptions or “gut feelings” can bring.

If we look around, it does not take much detective work to understand why so many of us can get so depressed and why we have frittered away our intuition.


Real is Rare

We live in an age where the digital and the virtual are frequently confused with real-time and real. The digital world has no senses per se. There is very little “real” connected with concepts such as reality TV, social media, or video gaming. Yet, people get lost in such things as though they were real. When we can’t keep up, it depresses many of us.

Indeed, in today’s world, “stress” is such a significant issue that no one quite knows what to do with all of it. Not only are adults stress-ridden, but teenagers and children are as well. To keep ourselves engaged, we have largely forgotten the benefits of downtime, reflection, spirituality, and introspection. Gone are the days when grandma and grandpa sat on their rocking chairs, merely reflecting on life. We would rather overbook and, subsequently, overlook all that is good, all that has been accomplished and made better. When reflection is absent, many of us figure that we haven’t accomplished a thing and that life is sad. How do we usually make it right? Unfortunately, we often overbook and stress even more.

To let intuition back in our lives, far better to allow ourselves to unplug, look within and accept what we know to be accurate; that we do our best, that we are trying to make a better life and, in the end, follow your instincts.



For more information about Hall of Fame speaker and bestselling author Steve Gilliland and the Gilliland Foundation, please contact steve@stevegilliland.com / 724-540-5019 / www.stevegilliland.com.