The way we decide to buy brands is mind-blowing.
Here are seven fascinating mental mistakes we make when purchasing the products and services we use every day. Since these errors are made unconsciously, we need to first become aware of them. Recognizing the irrationality of our decisions can help us make more informed, sensible choices and save money.
Has there ever been a time when you had an intuitive feeling about something but you went against it? Regardless of how that particular outcome played out, it probably felt uncomfortable to go against your gut.
It’s common to think of intuition as having a kind of magical source. But it is really built out of a series of authentic experiences that reinforce our ways of thinking and ways of being over time. Once you experience success following a certain path of choices, you are likely to repeat that pattern of thinking. Likewise, if a series of choices leads to a negative outcome, you will remember that information for next time.
Over time and experience, we begin to develop a sense that we affectionately refer to as our “gut feelings.” It is hard to say how accurate these feelings are in guiding our individual choices, but one thing is certain, they have a significant impact on our self-perception and how we relate to one another.
When we go against our gut, it can be a form of self-betrayal. This can be hard to reconcile. Our intuition is so closely linked to who we are, when we doubt it, things can quickly become confusing.
In the book Leadership and Self Deception: Getting Out of the Box, published in 2000 by The Arbinger Institute, the authors explain how this process happens to us step by step:
1. An act contrary to what I feel I should do for another is called an act of “self-betrayal.”
2. When I betray myself, I begin to see the world in a way that justifies my self-betrayal.
3. When I see the world in a self-justifying way, my view of reality becomes distorted.
They go on to give an example of a young couple and their newborn infant. Both parents exhausted and bewildered by the sudden and extensive changes in their lives and sleeping patterns, like many a typical night in this circumstance, the baby begins crying. The father’s first intuitive thought is, “I should get up and tend to the baby.” But instead, he decides to pretend to be asleep and waits for his wife to wake up and care for the baby, going entirely against his first impulse. He has now betrayed his intuition. Once this happens, it is easy to begin to justify his self-betrayal with thoughts about his wife such as, “she should get up with the baby, I have to work all day tomorrow.” Or, “I washed the dishes and did bath and fed the baby tonight, it’s her turn to do something.”
Just like the father in this scenario, once we betray our intuitive feelings, we quickly begin to inflate the view of ourselves in terms of what we have done right while we equally inflate our view of others in terms of what they have done wrong, or have failed to do. It is through this process our perspective becomes skewed.
You can imagine the type of interpersonal conflict to which this may lead us. As we continue to deny our initial impulses, we layer upon layer self betrayal and self deception, getting farther and farther away from our natural, true, and transparent feelings, and more and more intricately bound up in our feelings of defensiveness, reactiveness, judgment, and doubt.
And the impact of self-deception is far reaching. The Arbinger Institute describes self-deception this way, “It blinds us to the true causes of problems, and once we’re blind, all the “solutions” we can think of will actually make matters worse. Whether at work or at home, self-deception obscures the truth about ourselves, corrupts our view of others and our circumstances, and inhibits our ability to make wise and helpful decisions.”
So how can we sort out if we are listening to our authentic intuition or being blinded by our own self-deception? We start with investigating our motives and exploring whether they are honest or ulterior.
And from there, it’s simple. We try to do better. We make one decision at a time, always striving for authentic, transparent communication, knowing we will have some missteps along the way. Just as the momentum can get going in the direction of self-betrayal, we have the power to turn the momentum in the direction of self-trust.
As we grow in this skill, we grow in our ability to trust our natural impulses and to trust our intuition, one gut feeling at a time.
The Arbinger Institute (2000). Leadership and Self Deception: Getting Out of the Box. San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers.
Using Your Intuition for Self-Care
Intuition is sometimes thought of as the sixth sense. Basically, it’s an inner knowing that does not involve the mind, or intellectual or logical processes. It’s when we feel something instinctually without needing to be analytical. When we have an intuitive feeling, we’re receiving ideas without being aware of where they’re coming from.
Following your intuition means that you’re listening to your inner voice, which can be a huge tool in the decision-making process. A study done by Lufityanto, Donkin, and Pearson (2016) found that nonconscious emotional information can boost the accuracy of decision-making while also increasing an individual’s sense of confidence. In addition, it was found to speed up the actual decision-making process. This is fascinating information and confirmation that trusting our inner voices and intuition can be a positive action.
According to transpersonal psychologist Frances Vaughan (1998), intuitive awareness falls into four main categories: physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual, which we can use independently of one another.
An example of inner knowing as it pertains to the physical self might be when we’re in an unsafe or uncomfortable situation and we feel a sensation in our body, whether it’s a headache, stomachache, or a sense of anxiety. This points to a form of inner knowing that offers a message: “Learning to trust your bodily responses is part of learning to trust your intuition” (p. 186). If your body is giving you information, then it’s a good idea to listen because the information can ensure your safety. If you habitually have the same response to the same situation, it might have to do with a preexisting (perhaps childhood) trauma. Being mindful of this reaction will allow you to cope.
An example of emotional inner knowing is when you feel that someone’s energy or vibes are either positive or negative. Most often, this will affect your behavior when you engage with them. Often there’s no particular reason for how you feel; it’s just felt at a vibrational level. Moving forward, these vibrations can provide you with valuable information. Those who experience this type of intuition might have a tendency for synchronistic and/or psychic experiences. For example, you might be thinking about someone and then that person phones you.
Mental inner knowing, according to Vaughan, pertains to an awareness accessed through images or “inner vision.” You might see patterns in a situation that was previously chaotic. This sort of inner knowing or intuition is sometimes referred to as “having a gut feeling.”
Spiritual inner knowing or soul guidance might be associated with mystical experiences. Experts have suggested that regular meditation practice can foster and enhance a sense of this type of intuition.
In his classic book You Are Psychic! (1989), Pete A. Sanders says that psychic abilities can be tapped into using the “psychic reception areas.” He identifies four different psychic senses in the body: psychic feeling (in the solar plexus), psychic intuition (knowing or inner awareness), psychic hearing (on both sides of the head above the ears), and psychic vision (the third eye or the place between the eyebrows). In the same way that some of us are auditory or visual learners, we each have strengths in one of these psychic areas. Sanders says that in order to face challenges and make good decisions, it’s important to learn your own psychic strength because it can affect how you live your life. Also, when you know the psychic strengths of your loved ones, you can communicate with them more effectively.
How to Tap into Your Intuition
1. Begin a regular meditation and mindfulness practice. Meditation will help you tap into your subconscious mind and is a powerful way to awaken your intuitive powers.
2. Use the intuition “psychic reception center.” This was discussed by Sanders and describes a spot on your head where you receive intuitive messages. The idea is to imagine a funnel on the top of your head, with the larger end of the funnel touching your head and the narrow part extending into the universe. When you need to tap into your intuition and focus on something, place this imaginary funnel on your head and focus your awareness on that area. Be receptive to the messages you receive.
3. Maintain a regular journaling practice. Journaling is a wonderful way to tap you’re your intuition. For example, try to think about a recent situation you’d like more insight about. Focus on that event and pay attention to the thoughts that emerge. Write in your journal what comes to you. As you go about your day, observe others, and see if you can pick up any messages from their body language even before they speak to you. It’s all about “tuning in.” When you have the opportunity, jot down your observations in your journal.
4. Practice creative visualization: Shatki Gawain wrote two seminal books on the subject — Creative Visualization and Developing Intuition, which work hand in hand. Creative visualization is a technique where you close your eyes and use your imagination to create what you want in your life. It can open you up to new creative energies that will help you tap into your intuition.
Begin with a few minutes of diaphragm breathing. Then, let go of any thoughts that enter your mind, and imagine them fading away. Picture yourself in a cave where you remove all your clothes and lie down. Feel the moisture dripping from the ceiling, as its acidic nature begins to dissolve your skin, organs, and body systems. Think of yourself as a skeleton, while being completely aware. Being stripped of everything can offer a magical opening into your intuitive self and may also help you tap into your inner voice.
Lufityanto, G., C. Donkin, and J. Pearson. (2016). “Measuring Intuition: Nonconscious Emotional Information Boosts Decision Accuracy and Confidence . Psychological Science Online.
Sanders, P.A. (1989). You Are Psychic!. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster.
Vaughan, F. (1998). “Mental, Emotional, and Body-Based Intuition.” In Inner Knowing, by H. Palmer, Ed. New York, NY: Jeremy Tarcher.