Keep a record. To determine how strong your intuitive ability is, keep a record of your intuitive insights, or hunches, as they occur. Rate them objectively. If a reasonable number have worked out, cultivate and pay attention to your intuitions.
Diary-keeping is the best way to separate genuine intuitive hunches from wishful projections. If you discover that many of your hunches turn out to be wrong, take stock. Try to learn how your personal interests, wishes, fears and anxieties tend to distort your perceptions and block the way to clear and valid intuitions.
It’s a normal function. Realize that intuitive thinking is a normal function of the brain, not a euphemism for clairvoyance, mystical precognition or similar questionable phenomena.
Intuitive thinking requires thorough spadework on a problem. You’ve got to have the basic facts and information before intuitive processes can take over. Jerome S. Bruner of Harvard University says, ‘Individuals who have extensive familiarity with a subject matter appear more often to leap intuitively into a decision or to a solution of a problem — one which later proves to be appropriate.’
A combined approach. Use intuitive and analytic modes of thought in combination. The intuitive mode isn’t opposed to the rational, cognitive mode, but complements it. Typically, intuitive insights both precede and follow the exhaustive use of analysis, reason and logic.
Depending on the problem, decide which mode is most appropriate. Where the intuitive mode is used first, the analytic mode should be tried afterward. In fact, all intuitive thinking should be subsequently transposed into linear, logical order for articulation and implementation.
Analyze and wait. Genuine intuitive insights are not under conscious control or will. You can’t predict when they’ll come. So tackle problems consciously. Learn as much about them as you can using the analytic processes. Acquire all known data. Laziness often is the source of faulty hunches.”
Following up on the music postings this week, this list is a guide for animating improvisation, because the best kinds of improvisations come from the gut as intuitive responses to a situation. But again, intuition, like improvisation, needs to be honed with practice and reflection. There is no book that can tell you how to refine your intuition, but articles and lists like this point the way towards a set of practices that will put you more in touch with the skills you need to be able to think on your feet.
Agility comes from a strong ability improvisation and improvisation arises out of a well-honed intuitive sense. Most decisions one needs to make in a complex and changing environment are not self-evident. They are made out of a field of choices. Honing these agility capacities makes one better able to make better choices, finding the je ne sais quoi that rises above the avilable data and creates something truly new and spectacular.