Decision Making For Dummies
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Research conducted by the HeartMath Institute suggests there are three different categories or types of processes that form your intuitive strengths, or channels: implicit knowledge, energetic sensitivity, and nonlocal intuition. Your intuitive strengths aren’t limited to only one of the three strengths. You can access one or more at a single time. Fortunately, you don’t need to know which strength is at work, as long as it works for you.

As you increase your awareness of what you are sensing, noticing, and paying attention to, you improve your accuracy.

Identifying your intuitive strengths enables you to adjust to new and different circumstances, and it increases your effectiveness in familiar situations. It also gives you a better understanding of what is going on in the social and emotional environment — data that lets you know whether a solution will work in a given situation.

Implicit knowledge

Implicit knowledge is the instant retrieval of knowledge that you’ve gained but can’t explain logically. More specifically, it is an implicit cognitive database that holds information about situations you’ve encountered and the solutions that worked. It shows up as knowing without thinking. This is what most people think of when they hear the word intuition. It is a cognitive process based on experience and knowledge gained and catalogued over time.

With implicit knowledge, the more experience you have with decision-making, the stronger your intuition will be. Therefore, the best way to strengthen your implicit knowledge is to gain more experience in making decisions in very different decision-making environments. This is a prerequisite for anyone aiming to make senior-level, high-stakes decisions because the journey from the front line to the senior level represents a 180-degree flip in decision-making mindset.

Take a look at any executive or strategic decision that has proven to be successful, and you’ll find the decision-maker merged years of experience with an intuitive take on which way to go next. Rational analysis would support but not direct the conclusion.

Energetic sensitivity

Energetic sensitivity refers to your nervous system’s ability to detect and respond to environmental signals, such as electromagnetic fields. It is well established that, in both humans and animals, nervous system activity is affected by geomagnetic activity. Some people, for example, appear to have the capacity to feel or sense that an earthquake is about to occur before it happens.

It has recently been shown that changes in the earth’s magnetic field can be detected about an hour or even longer before a large earthquake occurs. Another example of energetic sensitivity is the sense that someone is staring at us.

Energetic sensitivity is best understood by understanding the heart’s electromagnetic field, one source of intuitive perception. Your body — more specifically, your electromagnetic field — receives and absorbs data that your conscious mind doesn’t perceive. An electrical current generates a magnetic field; therefore, when your heart beats, it generates an electrical field.

The electrical field generated by your heart is many times stronger than the field generated by your brain. The figure shows how far the field extends out from your body, measured by medical equipment.

[Credit: Illustration courtesy of the HeartMath Research Center]
Credit: Illustration courtesy of the HeartMath Research Center

The information embedded in the electromagnetic field generated by the heart expresses the emotional state of each person, and you both emit and absorb this emotional information, whether you’re aware of it or not. Standing beside someone who is happy or enthusiastic, for example, has the spin-off effect of boosting your own spirits.

Conversely, an employee who arrives at work an emotional mess communicates his emotionally negative state in his interactions with customers and coworkers. Credibility and trust are conveyed or not through this invisible transfer of information.

The relevance to workplaces? Those that rely on fear or coercion impede cognitive functioning and well-being. Workplaces that boost positive emotions in the workplace, even under stress, support cognitive functioning and access to intuition.

When you are standing next to someone and your electromagnetic fields overlap, your heartbeat can be measured in the other person’s brainwaves!

With energetic sensitivity, you’ll have a sense for what is going on underneath the surface of a given situation, which no one is either talking about and may not even recognize. You receive that information as one or more of these signals: a hunch, an image, a physical sensation in different parts of your body, and so on. That’s the good news.

Now for the downside. If you’re energetically sensitive, you have a tough time being in crowds and are likely to feel drained afterward, loud noises will likely be overwhelming, and working under fluorescent lights will deplete you.

Nonlocal intuition

Have you ever known that something was taking place in a location remote from you without being told? If so, you’ve experienced nonlocal intuition. Nonlocal intuition refers to the knowledge or sense of something that cannot be explained by past (or forgotten) knowledge or environmental signals.

Examples of nonlocal intuition include a parent sensing that something is happening to a child who is many miles away, or the repeated, successful sensing experienced by entrepreneurs about factors related to making effective business decisions.

Strengthening nonlocal intuition is difficult because there are no practical, step-by-step solutions on how to improve. This intuitive strength is totally intangible and unique to each person. Here’s a suggestion, though: When someone you care about comes into your mind, be open to the idea that you may be picking up on an emotional signal, one that crosses time and space in an instant.

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Dawna Jones generates imaginative insights and applies 25 years experience in helping businesses and organizations make bold decisions. She co-designs the future of organizations, transforming them from "business-as-usual" to inclusive cultures of prosperity.

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