The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgoen the gift. -Albert Einstein

On the 26th of September 1983 during the cold war the Soviet Union’s early warning system- a radar computer system used to detect long rage targets such as missiles before they reached their targets reported the launch of several US intercontinental ballistic missiles headed towards toward the Soviet Union. Stanislav Petrov, a lieutenant colonel of the soviet Air Defense Forces and officer on duty at the site which housed the early warning system however deduced that the detection was a computer error and dismissed the warning as a false alarm and his suspicions were confirmed as no missiles landed in the Union there after. Later on the system computers also identified four more missiles headed towards the Union and as before Petrov suspected that the system was malfunctioning without a direct means of conforming his suspicions and at the risk of a catastrophic attack which never came. It was later determined that the false alarms were caused by a rare alignment of high altitude clouds and the orbit of Molniya satellite.

Intuition is the ability to understand or know something based on mere emotions alone or without
thorough reason, some call it gut, instinct and many other nouns out there. Success in every field one attends to over time can require the help of intuition. As much as being intelligent and trusting facts and data is advisable and the more recommendable thing to do the historic and game changing events and decisions have been based on instincts. Science has its limits and that is why it is important to learn to make (correctly) decisions based on intuition just like Stanislav Petrov who averted a world ending crisis by not reporting a hoax US attack which would have ended in a nuclear war. Most successful people in this world have largely attributed to how their gut or instincts has led them to ground breaking research or millions of dollars. The great Albert Einstein called intuition a “sacred gift”,
Steve Jobs credited most of his success to his intuitive decision making, legendary investor Warren Buffet and others known of.

And am sure you have heard and been told of how to trust your intuition to make the tough calls, the voice from the inside, the most reliable set skills when it comes to success as claimed by most. All these assertions are right, intuition is largely important in the long time success of anyone. But before you trust your intuition it is important to know how exactly the so called sixth sense works lest you make haphazard choices.

Intuition is not any magical as mostly portrayed but rather a systematic response or thought-line that develops overtime mostly through experience in a certain field. And the biggest misconception about the power of intuition is that your intuition will not always be right and especially not in everything you apply it to. It is important to note that intuition has a principle and this principle determines how one’s intuition can be trusted in a situation or case.

The right kind of intuition is developed over time and does not fall from the sky or gained over night. For example in our lead story, it is worthy of notice that Stanislav Petrov was a dignified colonel who had served and received training in the Soviet Air Defense meaning he had some understanding of how warfare works and he later stated that the reason he did not believe the false alarms was his belief that the US would not launch such few missiles in the event of war but rather hundreds to prevent the Soviet Union from mounting a counter attack. Thus we establish something important about intuition, it is acquired and learned. A Pediatric doctor learns overtime how to detect the problem of a child without thorough diagnosis or how an expert reader knows how to pronounce a word without having ever heard it before.

It is also important to note that your intuition does not always work in every situation or field. The helpful intuition works in fields or situations you are familiar with, where you have acquired significant knowledge or by practice made several prior judgments meaning it is unwise for someone who has never been involved in the agriculture of Cassava to make a decision based on his instincts about expected yield because this decisions is likely to be wrong because even the expert intuition has limits. An expert in medicine is unlikely to make a correct intuitive decision about finance and the same can be said of an expert in finance in the field of medicine.

Gary Klein a leading psychologist in naturalistic decision making once explained that the leaders in various fields in the world, those who are known to have expert intuition have one big asset compared to the others: they understand their limit, the limits of their knowledge when making decisions. And thus as much as it is advisable to follow and trust your instincts it is important to examine yourself, know your limits and when your intuition is best applicable.

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