Do the best leaders rely on their intuition? Well yes! From Albert Einstein to Winifred Oprah, a stack of individuals, including artists, inventors, and media personalities refer to intuition for success. Here’s a list of 10 intuitive people who leaders in their field to inspire you in trusting your intuition.
See also my article on Wizards of Intuitive Vs Rational Mind.
1. Niels Bohr
Bohr (1885 –1962), a Danish physicist, contributed to knowledge of the atomic structure and quantum physics. He received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1922.
According to the Washington Post: “Niels Bohr was deeply intuitive, a pioneering physicist who moved insightfully from the theoretical to the real of atomic structure.”
No, no, you’re not thinking; you’re just being logical.
Niels BohrNiels Bohr
2. Steven Spielberg
Spielberg (1946 –), a leading filmmaker, is famous for the movies, E.T., Jaws, Jurassic Park, and Raiders of the Lost Ark, among many others. Listen to what he had to say in the commencement speech for Harvard’s graduating class…
want to be clear that your intuition is different to your conscience…your conscience shouts “Here’s what you should do” while your intuition whispers “Here’s what you could do”
What’s your favorite Spielberg movie?
3. Stanislav Petrov
He followed his intuition and deemed early-warnings of successive US missile launches in the Russian detection system as false alarms.
4. Steve Jobs
Jobs (1955 — 2011), CEO and co-founder of Apple, and chairman and major shareholder of Pixar Animation had a daily habit of wearing the same design of outfit as every other day so he didn’t have to expend energy deciding on what to wear.
Jobs saw himself as one of the few people who understood the importance of intuition in producing technology.
He experienced the teachings of Zen and Buddhism in his time in India in the 1970s where his sense of intuition was influenced by the spiritual people with whom he studied. He saw that people in India were not purely rational thinkers, but were guided by intuition.
Don’t let the noise of others drown your inner voice
5. Albert Einstein
Einstein (1875 –1955), a leading German-born physicist, developed the theory of relativity.
As captured by Psychology Today: “For Einstein, insight did not come from logic or mathematics. It came, as it does for artists, from intuition and inspiration.”
It’s best to let Einstein tell it as it was for him…
Einstein himself said “I believe in intuitions and inspirations. I sometimes feel that I am right. I do not know that I am. When two expeditions of scientists, financed by the Royal Academy, went forth to test my theory of relativity, I was convinced that their conclusions would tally with my hypothesis. I was not surprised when the eclipse of May 29, 1919, confirmed my intuitions. I would have been surprised if I had been wrong.” 1
6. Winfrey Oprah
Oprah (1964 –), TV personality, media executive, believes in trusting your intuition. She attributes her success to how she listens to her intuition.
In her 2016 Masterclass, Oprah gave this piece of advice to think about: “You cannot hear the still, small voice of your instinct, your intuition, what some people call God if you allow the noise of the world to drown it out,” she said. Notice here that Oprah is not one to distinguish between instinct vs intuition.
7. Nikola Tesla
Tesla (1856 — 1943), inventor, created the Tesla coil, enabling wireless technologies. He is credited by many sources for following his intuition in creating his inventions.
“Be alone, that is the secret of invention; be alone, that is when ideas are born.”
Tesla wanted most to provide free electricity to the world. He is said to have “displayed remarkable imagination and creativity as well as a poetic touch”.2
8. Alan Alda
Alan Alda, an American actor, director, and screenwriter, is best known for his role in the TV series, Mash, prior to his profound revelation on intuition (and one well reiterated).
In the Commencement Speech at Connecticut College, 1980, Alan Alda had this to say on intuition: “Have the nerve to go into unexplored territory. Be brave enough to live life creatively. The creative is the place where no one else has ever been. It is not previously known. You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. You can’t get there by bus, only by hard work and risk and by not quite knowing what you’re doing, but what you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover will be yourself.”
9. Jonas Salk
Salk (1914 — 1995) a US Medical researcher, discovered and developed a beneficial polio vaccine (1955).
He was a brilliant example of someone who accessed and followed their intuition. This led to benefits for the whole of humankind.
He also authored books, one of which the 1983 Anatomy of Reality: Merging of Intuition and Reason is worth a read.
Salk covers the infinite knowledge that is present in the depths of the unconscious mind. He highlights how we are all part of a complex and interconnected biosphere and that each part depends on every other part. He points out that there’s a well of knowledge in which to pay attention. That those who can access this well of knowledge have a moral obligation to humanity and to the planet to provide what their guided revelations.
His own experience with intuition was with images, metaphors, and calling on multiple outcomes for any given concern.
As told by Jonas Salk, from his 1983 Anatomy of Reality: Merging of Intuition and Reason: “When I became a scientist, I would picture myself as a virus, or as a cancer cell, for example, and try to sense what it would be like to be either. I would also imagine myself as the immune system, and I would try to reconstruct what I would do as an immune system engaged in combating a virus or cancer cell. When I had played through a series of such scenarios on a particular problem and had acquired new insights, I would design laboratory experiments accordingly.”
Salk’s thoughts on trusting intuition (and the science of intuition): “This is mysterious. I cannot visually, with my physical eye, see the forces that act upon me from within and without, and yet I cannot deny their existence. If I try, I suffer. If I surrender, allowing them to act upon me, and if I work with them, I feel exhilarated; I become filled with the joy of life” (from the same literature).
10. David Lynch
Lynch (1943 — ), an American filmmaker, directed the film Elephant Man and the mini-series, Wild at Heart.
According to David Lynch: “Intuition is the key to everything, in painting, filmmaking, business – everything.”
“I think you could have an intellectual ability, but if you can sharpen your intuition, which they say is emotion and intellect joining together, then a knowingness occurs.”
- 1929 October 26, The Saturday Evening Post, What Life Means to Einstein: An Interview by George Sylvester Viereck, Start Page 17, Quote Page 117, Column 1, Saturday Evening Post Society, Indianapolis, Indiana. (Verified on microfilm)
- Inez Whitaker Hunt. 2019. Nikola Tesla. Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica, inc.:https://www.britannica.com/biography/Nikola-Tesla
Access Date: March 10, 2019
- Bohr and Einstein image by janeb13
- Tesla image by mohamed_hassan
- Alan Alda image by skeeze
- David Lynch image by miaikransen