Improve Your Intuition By Reading Voraciously

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Take a look into my mind

If I had to pick one thing that makes me different from other therapists, other business owners, other educators, most other people in general–it would have to be my mind.
Now, I don’t consider my central nervous system to have any qualities that others don’t have–I can’t memorize thousand-digit numbers, I even have trouble remembering the anatomy I’m working with on a daily basis.
And ugh–I’m bad at remembering faces, and that has often gotten me into mildly embarrassing situations.

So there’s not a special thing my mind can do… it’s more about the memories coded into its circuits. Memories of books.

I read a lot. I’ve read thousands of books, but now I’m working so much that I had to cut back–it takes me about two weeks to finish a book these days. Usually I have several non-fiction books going, and another one as an audiobook, and then I read novels for just relaxation, so I get to four books a month now, on average.

They don’t all get finished anymore, especially the non-fiction ones get dropped if they’re not engaging me enough. That’s a recent development, in the past I had to ALWAYS finish what I’ve started.

You know when Mark Zuckerberg made it his lofty goal to read 23 books in one year?

If you were laughing about that (and since you’re reading this blog, you might be more like me than like Zuck), PLEASE drop me a note. I want to have a “voracious readers” club. Come join me!

 

A look at intuition

 

When I’m coaching other business owners, all the nonfiction books lurk in the back of my mind, ideas and phrases jump up as needed. OK, admittedly some fiction characters can’t be held back either. Arthur Dent might be waving his towel in inappropriate moments. My intuition doesn’t grasp concepts out of thin air–they come out of books, and are coming to my mind as if they were pure inspiration.

Of course I’ve learned a lot from other people, too, and their experiences and advice comes up as well.
To me, intuiting is the non-conscious processing of memories at rapid speed, so fast that conscious thought could never follow. Intuition happens below the level of consciousness, just like processing all the sensations we’re dealing with at all times. You don’t consciously follow how your body temperature is regulated, how your ears pick up all the sounds surrounding you, what one square inch of you shin is reporting right now–you just get a filtered report of whatever your brain considers important enough.
Good intuition is a good filter plus a great skill at picking the right memory at the right time, and even combining a bunch of them–and then you suddenly get it as conscious thought. Boom! There it is.

Since intuition is nothing supernatural, and only fed by our own memories, feelings, experiences, it might be wrong.
Intuition is like your own private search engine into your mind. A biased mind, of course. As long as we don’t forget that, we can use it freely.

 

Only practice makes perfect

 

“You really understand me”, “you sure know a lot about relationships”, “How did you know?” my clients say often.
It’s really just practice. Like everything else–you do it the first time, you have no clue, you stumble around, you’re going to bump into things.
First friendships, first romance, first business partnership, all these first ones often run into troubles and most don’t work out, especially if you have several bumbling beginners bumping into each other.
But persevere, and you’ll get into a graceful dance.

I’ve persevered in real life, and then I added books. When people compliment my English, I usually tells me it comes from the one thousand novels I’ve read by British, American, Canadian, and the occasional Aussie writer.

(Shoutout to Sharon Livinstone!)

In recent years I’ve been tracking my books on Goodreads–here’s my non-fiction list. They’re not all good.

Even bad books taught me a lesson or two. Try it! Read more! If you’re not at Zuckerberg level yet–get there!

But if time is limited, try the “Blinkist” app on your phone or tablet. It gives you summaries of non-fiction books that you can read in about 15 minutes each, and they’re really good summaries if you want quick information about a subject.

It’s not like reading the whole book, of course, with Blinkist you’ll get a lot of bullet points, and hardly any stories. Unavoidable, since it has to be supershort.
I use it to find out which books I really want to read.

My mind still wants to be fed, and all our minds like to work with stories. The stories I’ve experienced, and the stories in well-written non-fiction books make up the huge treasure chest my intuition fishes around in whenever I have a coaching conversation.

So here’s the Blinkist-type summary:

1. Read more, or listen to audiobooks. Go to my goodreads list for ideas or wait for the next post with specific recommendations.

2. If you’re short on time, and you hear about a book that’s the recent buzz, or if there is one that you’ve had on your “I have to read this eventually” list, get the summary on Blinkist.

3. Play with intuition. Listen to the thoughts that suddenly pop up while you’ve worked on a problem for a few days, and once you let it go, there comes a solution. Give your conscious thought a break now and then so your intuition can get to work… but don’t believe everything that you think!