In his excellent book, Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, Malcolm Gladwell discusses intuition. In Gladwell’s model, intuition is a mental skill that is achieved by gaining deep expertise in a discipline through thousands of hours of practice.
A minimum of 10,000 hours is required according to Gladwell. This intense engagement focused on one thing forms powerful patterns of associations, mostly sub-conscious, that silently assist in snap decisions. This intuition allows a veteran firefighter to sense that a burning house is seconds away from fiery collapse. The imminent danger is picked up at an intuitive level, not as part of his analytical, thinking mind.
This “master’s intuition” is formed in the right hemisphere and the mid-brain, aka “mammalian brain.” The right hemisphere tries to make sense of patterns rather than symbols, and will present cues to the left hemisphere “central governor” at opportune moments for advantage, which shows up as a genius or creative brilliance. Since the mammalian brain also receives messages from the reptilian brain, some of these messages are instincts. The intuition and instincts show up in your thinking space as insights or a knowingness without an attributable source.
Now as I mentioned Gladwell states that you need 10,000 hours or more to sow and harvest this masterful ability. Most people will take a lifetime to accrue this level of experience. But they are doing so in a linear, non-integrative manner. What I mean is that they are performing the skill in a familiar, low-stress environment. But consider how a Navy SEAL trains – realistically, under intense pressure to perform, and relentlessly. This approach has risk but allows the SEAL operator to achieve mastery early in their careers.
In addition, Gladwell’s assertions are based on a mind not trained for immersion learning. Yes, intuition can arise due to deep concentration on a narrow set of skills over a long period of time, but I also believe it can be accelerated greatly when we increase the pressure and train our minds to receive and process more information in more ways. When we actively engage training of the mind, rather than allowing it to be shaped gradually, then we are able to access intuitive genius quicker, and use it as a skill for decision making rather than waiting 10,000 hours and hoping it shows up.
How do we begin the training of the mind in our Unbeatable Mind program?
#1 Learn to win first in your mind. This is accomplished by setting the right goals, establishing a visualization practice, and developing a daily habit of positivity and high-performance self-talk. The combination is extremely powerful in opening up a channel into your subconscious.
#2 Develop an integrated discipline. Elevate your training to include five domains of intelligence that I call the Five Mountains: Physical, Mental, Emotional, Intuitive and the Kokoro Mountain. This is about training the whole person and how actualizing the whole is much, much great than the sum of its parts.
#3 Starving fear, feeding courage. Learning techniques to control stress and fear are paramount to leadership in business, in sports or on the battlefield. Controlling stress and fear are the initial steps of building a reservoir of the mental toughness that you’ll need on your path to your most challenging goals and dreams.
As you engage the three pursuits above, you will begin to see expanding awareness, greater presence, and enhanced focus, all of which will be applied toward knocking down your most valuable targets.
I do not yet have hard data to prove the above hypothesis, but we do have countless testimonials that my theory is accurate. That should be enough to motivate you to put it to the test.