In this essay I discuss the nature of intuition and how I’ve decided to “surrender” to it — accept and follow my intuition without worrying too much about why and how.
A year ago, my family uprooted our home of 10 years in Austin, Texas and moved to St. Paul, Minnesota.
Before moving, we tried to be safe by lining up a new job first. There were several false alarms, and after a few months of trying, we simply decided to make a leap of faith. It was just too difficult to line up a job while being so far out of town. It’s one thing if I was at executive-level, where companies do national searches and deal with people flying in for interviews, but I was just a web producer/developer.
So we moved on the faith that once in town, I’d be able to line up a new job soon enough, before our savings would run out. The move was not without a risk, as I had to get a job where I could commute by bus, which severely limited my search. But in the end, I secured a perfect new job within a month. The tax return covered for our moving expense and the lost income from that month. Financially, we broke even — an outcome that was definitely better than we had braced ourselves to face.
Intuition: What Is It?
Intuition, a “gut” feeling, a hunch — whatever you call it, it means the same thing to me. It’s this sense of being pulled toward one direction. Some people seem to have intuition about future, like an outcome of an event, more like a premonition. I think that exists and I even have it sometimes, but here I’m talking mainly about a mechanism behind decision-making. It’s about being drawn toward one choice over others, and it’s not based on reason nor feelings, though it’s easy to confuse with the latter.
I have always been fundamentally intuitive. I actually consider it my hotline to God. It’s like a voice that’s constantly whispering in my ear, telling me what to do. Pretty much every waking moment of my life, I am hearing this voice. Every choice I make, from when to brush my teeth or go potty, is made in discussion between me and this voice.
It’s true that sometimes fear or other strong emotions cloud up our minds and lose touch with the “gut” feelings. I get so overwhelmed that I can’t tell which voice is whose. I know that I sometimes make rash, fear-based decisions. I’ve learned to sleep on big decisions, as giving it some time usually clears up the vision and help me figure out what my intuition is helping me.
It’s funny because a lot of times we tend to think of intuition to be an immediate thing, and I agree with that notion as well. In facing a situation, intuition seems to arrive the soonest and stay the latest. The first impulse may well be the voice of your intuition, though emotion can also be very quick and often very strong. Reason does arrive later, and for us intuitives, they bring the potential to strengthen or cloud up our vision. For intuition cannot always be explained — and even when it can, the explanation comes after the direction is made clear.
Because I’ve always perceived my intuition to come from outside me — psychology may label it super-ego, others may call it my Guardian Angel — I always feel like there are two entities inside my head, constantly struggling and wrestling over the control of my actions. (Just to clarify, I don’t want to get into a spiritual/religious discussion here — I myself am choosing not to define too fine a distinction between what is mine and what is God/Higher-Being/Universe. I’m going to refer to it as “my” intuition here, though I’m not closed to the notion that it may really originate from somewhere outside me.)
Really, imagine having a cell phone taped to one of your ears all the time, through which someone is always chattering what you need to do. Will it drive you crazy or mad? I used to feel like that, especially because what I’m hearing didn’t make sense to me. It’s usually telling me to do something I don’t want to do, or afraid to do, and explanation is apparently not part of its job description. I would say I used to ignore and resist my intuition 80-90% of the time. The illogical nature of intuition is one of the major reasons why I struggle with it so much. If someone asks me why I did something, saying “because my intuition told me so” seemed unacceptable to me. It sounds to me like it’s in the same league as going on a random shooting rampage and saying “God (or devil) told me to do it. ”
However, over the years I started realizing that I’d become more at peace with myself and less conflict-ridden when I simply follow this voice. There were also times when I chose something knowing it was in conflict with my inner voice, and paid dearly for it. It’s been one slow lesson to learn — I would say my recent batting average has been about 50%, and that’s with millions and millions of decisions I make over my lifetime.
Surrendering to My Intuition
My wife and I were talking recently and she was telling me about a revelation this one book about intuition brought her (she’s an intuitive person as well). She said that her body suffers when she has an intuition about something but is not strong enough to go with it. That was a major revelation to me as well, as I knew exactly what she was talking about.
So I decided, I’m going to surrender to my intuition. I’m going to simply listen to the voice that whispers in my head, not worry about the reasons why. I’m going to live as much of my life as possible based on my intuitive decisions.
And that includes a major, near-suicidal career move. I’m going to abandon my career as a web developer, rent a studio and start making music (and blogging) full time (click to read more about what led to that decision). We have little money, and I have no idea how this activity is going to support me and my family. (Oh yes, I have a realistic idea about how long it takes for blogs to start generating income. Longer than 3 months.;)) I’ve been developing a business plan to attract financial support, and to justify such a move — and so far it hasn’t worked out. No matter. That was my latest attempt to justify my desire to make music anyway.
I am so scared that if I stop and think too hard about it, I’d start panicking. But the decision was made. Why? Because that’s what my intuition has been telling me to do — for over a dozen years. Am I being naive to think that something will work out? You bet. Am I an irresponsible dad for subjecting not just me but my family to this dangerous journey? Perhaps. (My wife did approve, however.) Do I have any idea how such a move can possibly work out? None.
All those “sensible” voices do exist in my head, too. But I’m going to ignore them. Here’s me, leaping once again without having any idea where I’m going to land. My only comfort is that I have done it before, in different ways — and every time, I did land somewhere I liked. It has happened with other people, too. Read this tale from Brynne Betz — I encountered it just when I needed it to strengthen my resolve.
Rest be assured, OBV will continue. In fact, I’ll explore this theme of intuition in a series in the coming weeks. If you are interested in following me along to see how I’ll fare when I surrender to my intuition, subscribe and watch for announcements regarding other sites I’m going to launch soon.