If someone were to ask me about intuition years ago, I would have stared at them, open-mouthed.
The word would have meant nothing to me.
However, two years ago, after the birth of my son, something changed and evolved within me. I had what the new age folks call the “dark night of the soul,” and eventually a “spiritual awakening.”
That’s when I began to realize the brilliance of this word: intuition.
As an engineer by profession, I have been indoctrinated to value data and facts. To give my attention only to accurate, repeatable experiments, and to ignore anything that does not fall into this category.
To put an ironic twist on the situation, when going through the awakening process, I was working as a software engineer at a company that sells data monitoring software. Statements like “Data is the new oil,” and “The world’s most valuable resource is no longer oil, but data” were a common at work.
How, then, could I dare to utter words like “I feel” or “I sense” in this environment?
Even one sentence like this in a meeting would draw strange glances in my direction and place an unsaid wait on my coworkers faces. “She is definitely going to follow this statement up with some data,” their expressions reflected. “Of course, I will run the tests and add the results in the ticket”—I would comply. This is fair, of course; we don’t want to make engineering decisions without having hard values and facts. The surprise, however, is how much we all are conditioned to be against this concept of intuition—especially in the corporate world. It’s almost a blasphemy.
That is where the problem lies: not in the valuing of data and facts, but in the under-valuing of intuition.
We are living in a world of doing and not of feeling. We have become masters of sweeping our own feelings under a rug and using coping mechanisms to deny them as soon as they bubble up again.
Understanding intuition and listening to it changes all this. It has the power to make us enjoy the process of simply “being” without any “doing.” Again, I don’t mean to say that we should give up doing anything and become lazy, but we need not be in a compulsive habit of doing. If we can strike a balance, an equilibrium—where we use both parts of our brain, the creative and the logical—we can surely live a much more wholesome and fulfilling life.
What, then, are some practical ways to infuse intuition in the workplace so that it can sit side by side with logic?
The simplest way to be intuitive is to get out of your head and get into your heart. It is to feel.
So, the first thing is: don’t deny feelings—your own or anyone else’s. If someone rants to you at work, make your best effort to listen. Simply be there, be present for them.
If it is you who is having a bad day, talk to the person who is your safe place. If they are themselves busy, then I would suggest finding a quiet corner outside of office and writing down how you feel. If the paper gets wet with the tears that flow as you write your feelings down—let it! Let it all go! We all have been there. The goal of this is to give your feelings a way to get manifested before they become a pressure inside you waiting to explode on someone.
Not hearing, not responding, not thinking of a response while the other person talks—but pure and simple listening. Listening like a toddler listens: with the intent to understand, and with amazement that he/she can understand what the other person is saying.
One of the best feelings in the world is when one feels understood. For all the times in the workday where a business-oriented decision is not being discussed, try listening. You can debate, argue, and dissect all you want when it is a matter of work. But other times, you can drop down to your heart and listen to the other person from there. This alone can avoid so many work conflicts.
Going with the flow:
Yes, we all have body goals. But for a day, if you truly crave a chocolate strawberry crepe for some unknown reason, go for it! Who knows, you might just find a solution for that problem you have been thinking about for a week while eating that delicious goodness.
If, for a day, the weather makes you want to go out walking in the middle of the workday, what are you waiting for? Sometimes, our intuition goes against our logic. It does not follow the schedule or goals we have set for ourselves. But when such a strong feeling of doing something strikes, weigh in the consequences, and if not too dire, give in to your intuition. It will be a welcome break and a good practice of letting go of control, trust me!
Walking the talk and talking the walk (occasionally):
It is always difficult to be the odd one out, but it is even more difficult to be inauthentic.
So, if you are spiritual, I would say you can safely be yourself, even in a corporate environment. I don’t endorse shoving spirituality down everyone’s throat—but at the same time, I don’t see any harm in expressing a spiritual point of view on things occasionally. You need not hide an aspect of your personality just because it is considered “woo-woo” in engineering or corporate environments.
Any such list is truly incomplete without the mention of meditation. It is the holy grail of getting in alignment.
Most offices nowadays provide quiet spaces for employees. Making a daily office meditation practice helps. Be it mantra meditation, or a quick walking meditation post-lunch, or simple breathwork before a big meeting—these prove to be a big help in getting in touch with your intuition. The best of ideas, insights and solutions can be found in such moments where the brain is not in overdrive but in a calm, peaceful state.
Hopefully, these methods prove to be of value to you as they are to me. Once we are in alignment in our mind, body, and spirit, we truly become a Samurai sage who has the wand of intuition, the sword of logic, and the shield of instinct all at our disposition. With these, we can lead a productive, collaborative, stress-free, and fulfilling work life—and in time, inspire others to do the same.
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