Ever wonder how intuition feels? It would help to know whether it’s intuition or not, right? An “aha moment”. Here I describe what it feels like to some renown innovators and how it happens for them.
I think when most people say “how does intuition feel”, they really mean what is it like or how do you know it’s intuition.
What does intuition feel like?
Relationship expert Jonathon Marshall expressed intuition as “a sense, a feeling or vibe”. It’s been portrayed by others as a whisper or a quiet inner voice. I describe it as a thought, a ‘just knowing’, a vibe, that’s an instant flash, either randomly or inspired by something else.
You might have a flash that you resonate with a person, action, or thing in those aha moments – an immediate expression.
There’s no overthinking, no over-analyzing. (That would indicate rational vs intuitive thinking.)
For me, more often, intuition feels like nothing. There are no physical or emotional feelings apart from a spike of relief or assurance in the ‘knowing’ of what to do. It’s a light bulb moment, otherwise described as a moment of illumination.
How do you know when it’s your intuition?
When it’s intuition, it’s a fast, concise, and certain knowing. If you’re not sure, ask yourself, do you feel a need to flee or fight, do you have physical sensations in the gut, or are there strong emotions? If so, while nonetheless important, your experience is likely instinct or fear-driven, rather than intuition. I cover why in my article looking at intuition vs instinct.
How does intuition speak to us?
It’s fast. It happens when your mind is relaxed or when in the flow, distracted from day to day issues. It can happen when showering, journaling, meditating, or when going for long walks or drives. French mathematician, Poincaré described it has having “characteristics of conciseness, suddenness, and immediate certainty”.3
Jules Henri Poincaré (1854-1912) claimed his major breakthroughs came to him from out of thin air. He would go for journeys into the countryside or to the seaside to dismiss the intense work he had been performing. It was during these times, he would get his ‘aha’ moments. At other times, it was when lying in bed not able to sleep.3
Inventor, Nikola Tesla claimed the concept of an electric motor came to him in a vision as he strolled through a city park.2
For Mozart, music just came to him. For Brahms, it was distinct metal images “straightaway the ideas flow in up me”.1
Final thoughts on how does intuition feel
It can be an individual thing as to how intuition speaks to you or how it ‘feels’. It can be like images that flash across the mind or whispers, but it seems the common characteristic is a sudden spark of insight when the mind is not overthinking nor influenced by intense emotional or physical drivers.
- Abell, A. M. 1964. Talks with the Great Composers. G. E. Schroeder-Verlag, Garmisch-Parten-Kirchen. pp19-21 (cited in Stephan Schwarz’s essay: Creativity, Intuition, and Innovation).
- Collection of papers of Nikola Tesla, Tesla Institute, Yugaslovia, ND (cited in Stephan Schwarz’s essay).
- Beveridge, WIB. 1957. The Art of Science Investigation. Norton. NY.