Last year my five year old niece wanted a sled for Christmas. Now Santa probably gets thousands of requests for a sled, but how many does he get from children in New Zealand? Christmas in New Zealand is a time for barbeques and beach days. It doesn’t even snow in winter where Sophie lives.
One of the glorious things about children is they listen to their heart; they don’t second-guess their intuition or worry about making a mistake, they just go for it.
The other day Sophie’s 3 year-old brother George was asked what he’d like to do when he grows up, his answer: make peanut butter (or peeny butter, as he calls it). George will reassess his career choice one day but sometimes our own hunches are as seemingly ludicrous as wanting a peanut butter factory – yet they’re exactly what we should be doing!
Have you ever had a wild hunch, followed it and later seen how it made perfect sense?
There are two things you should know about ‘the hunch’.
Firstly, the more space you have in your life, the more hunches you’ll get; they tend to speed up in frequency and intensity in proportion to the amount of quiet time you have – which is why you have more over the holidays.
Secondly, if your new idea involves doing something different to what you normally do, or what people around you are doing, your mind WILL do everything it can to stop you from following through.
It’s not your mind being bad, it˙s just the nature of your mind.
Your mind is unenthusiastic about new ideas because your mind hates change; change is terrifying for the mind. In fact your mind will employ every sneaky trick it can to stop you from adopting new behaviors or beliefs.
Telling you things like “I’m, too old,” “I’m too young,” “I’m not smart enough.”
You have your own super sonic in-built guidance system
We hear so much about intuition but often we don’t take it seriously. Instead we listen to our mind and dismiss our gut feelings.
The most productive and satisfying way to move through life is to follow your heart. That gentle voice within you is the ticket to living the life your heart desires.
This is why understanding the true nature of your mind is such a powerful thing. because until you do it will stop you from taking the leaps you really want to take. It will also have you believing a lot of self-critical mind talk and feeling resentful, angry or dissatisfied.
(You can read more about the nature of your mind in my book 7 Secrets Your Mind Doesn’t Want You to Know)
So how does ‘following your intuition’ work?
Remember how I said your mind wants to see the whole plan laid out? Well, the truth is you don˙t need to know every step; in fact, rarely will you know every step. All you need to know is the step right in front of you.
When you next get an inclination to do something, whether it’s a big thing or a small thing, take notice of it, and seriously consider doing it. Think of it as experiment if that helps.
But what about my mind?
Think of your mind as the fine-tuning mechanism rather than as the knower of all things wise. For example, once you’ve decided to fly to Botswana for Christmas, then let your mind help you figure out how to buy a ticket and what clothes to take. (Your intuition is also very helpful in matters like this too)
Over the past couple of years I made a conscious effort to listen to my hunches
I didn’t worry if I couldn’t see the full picture and as a result the changes in my life and the speed they’ve happened have been far greater than ever before.
It didn’t always make sense, but I did it anyway
For example, I sold my house not knowing if I would ever be able to afford to buy one again or where I was going to live. In fact, I spent the next 9 months living in a small van with my two dogs trying to figure that out.
Another radical hunch I followed was to hire a life coach for the first time. It cost me more than I’d ever spent on anything (aside from my house), I’d never spoken to the woman, I didn’t even take her up on her 60-minute free consultation. I just signed up, paid up and felt perfectly calm while I did it. (At the time I found spending more than $50 on a pair of shoes worrisome).
Then, I flew to LA. Why? Because ‘it felt like a good idea!’ This might not seem that unusual, tons of people fly into Los Angeles every year, but ask anyone who knows me and they’re like, what, you, LA? On top of that, I didn’t know anyone, I had virtually no plans, just a hunch.
Then there was the random phone call that changed everything.
One day after a long bike ride I was sitting on the sofa with a cup of tea when the thought popped into my mind to call a woman I’d met a couple of weeks earlier who said to contact her if I wanted to join her for a walk.
I didn’t feel like a walk and I was pretty sure she had only said it to be polite, but my hunch to call her was so strong I put my tea down looked heavenward and said,”All right, I’ll do it.” Later that night I went to a dinner party at her house, which is where I met my husband.
And the list goes on.
The next time you get an idea, that feels right’ even if every neuron in your head says you’re crazy like a wolf, I say – go for it.
I didn’t use to live this way, but having seen what happens when you do, I try to as much as I can – despite what my mind tells me sometimes! We are all Sophie’s and George’s. We’ve just become accustomed to giving way more importance to the thoughts in our head than they deserve.
What does your Christmas penguin on a sled look like? And do you have the courage to take that first step? Go on – you’ll be pleased you did!