Why Instinctive Decision-Making is Your Hidden Power

Corinna Stoeffl

Do you trust your instincts? Or do you believe that there are only a few people who truly have the kind of intuition that can be trusted? A recent longitudinal study testing children’s creative problem-solving ability found that at age 5 an amazingly high 98% of the children scored as creative genius. By age 10, it was down to 30%, and at age 15 only 12% retained their score as creative genius. Adults tested at 2%. It seems that, initially, we all have the capacity to solve problems creatively and have the kind of intuition we can trust, and due to a variety of reasons, we lose it over time. The good news is, it can be learned again.

As a former math teacher, logical thinking was my strength. With logic comes the reliance on definitions and reference points. Today, I know how much these can blind me to creative solutions, allowing me to see only a small slice of the possibilities that actually exist. Instinctive decision making, on the other hand, has access to most, if not all, possibilities. With being able to perceive so many more possibilities, you can pick one that truly creates more. Instinctive decision-making is also faster than reasoning it out. It’s instantaneous.

Despite a long attachment to logical thinking as a strength, I have learned to recognize my intuitive knowing and to follow it. The time I spent being in nature has helped tremendously. We are more ‘psychic’ than we acknowledge. Being around many people, we tend to pick up on the thoughts, feelings and emotions of others. Have you ever visited a friend and known that the friend was sad? Or have you picked up on the anger in someone else? Being in nature gives us space to get in touch with what is true for us. It also leads to worrying less about what others think since the trees around us do not judge us. How can we cultivate this awareness while being ‘at home’ – in the ‘real’ world?

Here are 3 suggestions to regain the ability to make decisions instantaneously:

1) Practice having no expectations

When making decisions instinctively, it is very important to let go of expectations. If you hold on to them, it’s like you have a filter on and will accept only the information that fits your expectation. Any other messages are not even ‘heard’ or perceived. When expectations are present, even when they are non-cognitive, seriousness shows up.

Be ok with being surprised by the information your instinct is giving you. Maybe you can even delight in the surprises.

2) Let your mind wander

Let your mind wander! How often have we heard not to daydream? Have you stopped as a result of it? How much do we associate daydreaming with not being present, with being checked out? Have you ever considered that you can be totally present while letting your mind wander? You just stay with it, follow it, notice where it takes you.

What happens when you let your mind wander? You begin to connect to the possibilities that exist and explore them. Does that conjure up hours of wasted time? What if you let your mind wander during a 10- or 15-minute walk? Or you change scenery in the ‘office’ by finding a place to relax for that amount of time? Be creative with it and find what works for you!

3) Don’t hesitate, just make a choice.

While just make a choice sounds easy, we have been taught that we need to make the right decision and the right choice because it can’t be changed. What if this is not true? What if your choice is good only for 10 seconds. Then you look at it again and see if it still works. If it does not work, take that into account and make a new choice.

Magic happens when you make a choice. If there is an aspect that is not going to work well, you’ll become aware of it very quickly. If a choice is only good for 10 seconds, you get to make 6 choices in a minute. This is where the speed of following your instinct really comes in.

Does it feel light or heavy when you are with the choice you just made? If you feel lighter and more at ease, you’ll know it was the right decision for you. If it feels heavy, just make a new decision, it was good for only 10 seconds. It’s OK for you to do that.

Can you play with these suggestions rather than be serious about them? A playful attitude opens you up to your intuition, seriousness makes it tremendously hard to connect to it. It’s as if there is suddenly a solid wall between you and your intuition.

These three suggestions could be summed up as cultivating the playfulness and utter curiosity of a child. In turn, you can learn to trust your instincts. Put it into practice, and see what possibilities arise.

 Corinna StoefflAbout the Author: Corinna Stoeffl was born and raised in Germany and working as a Middle School mathematics and physics teacher, before moving to the US in 1980 with her family. Since then, Corinna has explored different careers, accumulating decades of invaluable experience, including; earning a master’s degree in Counseling, working as a life coach for many years, pursuing photography and writing two books. As a Being You facilitator and mother of two, Corinna’s career path has equipped her with a unique skill set, incredible sense of self-awareness and wisdom, which she in turn shares with her clients. Corinna’s own journey to self-acceptance led her to help others to find themselves, appreciate their unique qualities, and to use them to their advantage in their life and career. Corinna recently contributed a chapter to the collaborative book Voices of the 21st Century, released this October and is a #1 bestseller. Follow Corinna.