A good friend called the other day and asked if I could explain the difference between intuition and assumptions.
I’d never thought of making that distinction before, and nothing intuitively came to me. However, I think that a summary of our conversation is worth sharing.
Here’s what we came up with:
Assumptions and intuitions may look similar because they are an impulsive response to an external stimuli. However, they are very different.
Assumptions come from your head. They may originate from an emotional place, but they are essentially an opinion.
Intuition, on the other hand, comes from the heart. It bypasses the reasoning mind. It originates from a deeper, authentic internal place beneath thinking or emotion.
Assumptions are judgements, and as such, they are arguable. Intuition originates from a hidden, deep-seated truth from within and therefore is inarguable.
Intuition can surface, usually unexpectedly, from a “pit in my stomach” feeling in the midst of a difficult decision when I temporarily suspend conscious thought. It can happen in a “light bulb” moment where I suddenly understand something or get a good idea out of seemingly nowhere. It can appear when I’m reading non-verbal communication cues to understand what people are saying “between the lines.”
Intuition requires some self-awareness. When we’re in emotional turmoil, intuition generally isn’t very reliable. To attend to this deeper voice from within takes effort to distinguish it from an impulsive thought, opinion, or feeling. It requires some concentration, consideration, and mindfulness.
Assumptions, we decided, are a lazy person’s form of intuition.