What Is Intuition?

The simple explanation of intuition is that it is our decision-making shortcut. Commonly referred to as a “Gut Feeling” or “Sixth Sense” or “Snap Judgement”, intuition is the ability to understand something immediately without the need for conscious reasoning.

Gavin de Becker, author of The Gift of Fear, describes intuition as knowing without knowing why.

Intuition is a process separate from our conscious mind that relies on our emotions and past experiences to bypass slower, logic-based brain functions and inform us through body reactions such as a “feeling” in the stomach, hairs rising on the back of the neck, sweaty palms and more.

Intuition is essentially the brain on autopilot, performing the actions of processing information without a conscious awareness that it is operating. It is “the power or faculty of attaining to direct knowledge or cognition without evident rational thought and inference.”

Intuition & Self-Defense

Intuition is important for self-defense because it’s our “Quick Warning System” — if we accept these signals and act. When a situation or a person feels “off” or “wrong”, go with the gut and create distance between you and that person and/or that situation. Follow your intuitive signals and physically move to a safe location and/or a safe group of people until these signals are gone.

We often ignore these intuitive signals because we can’t consciously determine why these signals are occurring. We outthink ourselves and dismiss feelings that we can’t consciously justify or rationally explain. Sometimes we ignore these signals because it’s not socially acceptable.

Worry about being impolite later. Take action to reduce and remove these signals now. Apologize later if there’s no danger. If there is danger, you’ve just saved yourself, your friends, and/or your family with immediate action.


“In this video, Daniel Cordaro, Ph.D. explains the science behind intuition, where it comes from, why we have it, and how we can use it to our benefit.”


left quotation markYou have the gift of a brilliant internal guardian that stands ready to warn you of hazards and guide you through risky situations.right quotation mark

• • • • •

Gavin de Becker

left quotation markWe think conscious thought is somehow better, when in fact, intuition is soaring flight compared to the plodding of logic. Nature’s greatest accomplishment, the human brain, is never more efficient or invested than when its host is at risk. Then, intuition is catapulted to another level entirely, a height at which it can accurately be called graceful, even miraculous. Intuition is the journey from A to Z without stopping at any other letter along the way. It is knowing without knowing why.right quotation mark

• • • • •

Gavin de Becker


How Intuition Works

Pay attention to all the “funny feelings” that we often ignore.


Trust the Gut.   Recognize, acknowledge, and trust the “gut feeling,” the feeling an individual has when something is not right. If something does not “feel” right, it probably isn’t right.


Primary signals.   Curiosity, Wonder, Discomfort, Anxiety, Fear. Pay attention to these signals.


Significance.   Intuition provides significance to observations by bringing awareness of the world around us to a conscious level.


Why it’s ignored.   Attentiveness to intuition is ignored because the signal is dulled by judgment and rationalization. “We deny because we’re built to see what we want to see.” (32)


This video summarizes research as to what intuition is and helps explain how intuition is different from instinct.


by Gavin De Becker

“Through dozens of compelling examples from his own career, Gavin de Becker teaches us how to read the signs, using our most basic but often most discounted survival skill – our intuition. The Gift of Fear is a remarkable, unique combination of practical guidance on leading a safer life and profound insight into human behavior.”

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