Removing Roadblocks to Intuition

Accessing the power of intuition by understanding the common barriers.

Dr. Louise Rix
The Mental Game
5 min readJun 27, 2023

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Digital art by Dall-e 2, OpenAI

If you have any thoughts, want some help making a decision or would like to share your own intuitive process I’d love to hear from you! You can find my contact details here. I also work with a number of companies as an advisor.

In this post we’re going to cover things that can be mistaken for, or get in the way of, intuition. We’ll also cover the difference between intuition and spontaneity and how your current state of mind can impact your decision making process.

This is part two and I strongly encourage you to read part one here before delving into this post.

Roadblocks to Intuition

When our intuition conflicts with what we consciously want, we often choose to ignore it.

Have you ever looked back at a situation and said ‘I just knew that was going to happen’? A friend recently had terrible food poisoning and said when they entered the venue they just knew it was a bad idea but they ‘thought’ it would be fine. This is a fascinating example of our intuition warning us against something and the different levels of knowing we each posses.

As we covered in part one, intuition, from a scientific perspective, can be understood as the brain’s ability to draw on internal and external cues, past experiences and inherent knowledge to make decisions or form conclusions without conscious reasoning.

This means that before we can follow intuition, it has to travel up from the subconscious mind where it originates and bubble up to the level of conscious awareness. There are multiple things that stop this from happening.

  1. Lack of awareness

Intuition often communicates through subtle cues, such as fleeting thoughts, feelings or physical sensations. If we are not aware of these signals and their significance, it’s easy to brush them off as insignificant or fail to pay attention to their underlying message. Without recognising the importance of these subtle cues, we may miss out on valuable insights and guidance.

In some cases, a lack of awareness about intuition can mean it is viewed as irrational, superstitious or unreliable. This skepticism can prevent us from acknowledging and trusting our intuitive process, causing us to rely solely on conscious thought processes.

2. Conflicting desires

When our intuition conflicts with what we consciously want, we often choose to ignore it.

One reason we dismiss or overlook intuitive signals is because they conflict with our conscious desires. For instance if you feel things aren’t right with your co-founder but you think/hope it will be fine you are more likely to ignore the feeling.

When we become attached to what we want to be true, it can blur our ability to discern the authentic intuitive insights.

3. Brain override

Even without the presence of strong desires our brain can come in and over ride our intuition, often thinking it was a silly or insignificant thought. A friend shared recently they intuitively felt a new hire wouldn’t work out in their business but because they couldn’t explain the feeling rationally they ignored it and ultimately paid the price.

4. Distractions and noise

The noise and distractions of everyday life can drown out the subtle signals from our inner wisdom, making it challenging to hear and trust our intuition. Making time in the day to quiet your mind can help create space for your intuition.

Mixing up spontaneity and intuition

Another potential barrier to intuition is that people confuse it with its less helpful friend, spontaneity. These are related but distinct concepts:

Spontaneity: Spontaneity refers to acting or responding in a sudden, unplanned, or impulsive manner. It involves making decisions or taking actions without much forethought or deliberate consideration. Spontaneous actions often stem from an immediate desire or impulse, for instance an urge! While spontaneity can be exciting and lead to unexpected outcomes, it may not always involve a deep sense of knowing or a connection to intuition.

Intuition: Intuition, on the other hand, involves a deeper level of awareness and insight. It is a form of knowing or understanding without conscious reasoning or logical analysis. Intuition arises from the subconscious mind, drawing upon accumulated knowledge, experiences and subtle cues that may not be immediately apparent. It can provide guidance, offer valuable insights and prompt us to make decisions aligned with our authentic selves and desires.

While spontaneity is more about immediate, impulsive actions, intuition involves a more intuitive and nuanced understanding that goes beyond the surface level. Intuition can inform spontaneous actions, but it is not solely driven by spur-of-the-moment impulses. It taps into a deeper well of knowledge and understanding, leading to more meaningful and purposeful outcomes.

Operating from Centred Self

Understanding the place from which we are making a decision can be incredibly helpful when it comes to tapping into intuition. For instance if we’re feeling calm, emotionally regulated and generally positive it is likely your decision making abilities will be enhanced. We can call this mindset the ‘centred self’.

However if we’re feeling stressed, overwhelmed or anxious and worried about the future we are operating from beyond our centred self. In this case, a part of us is feeling strong emotions and those are potentially running the show. (I invite you to read more about Parts Therapy or Integrated Family Systems here). This can be problematic for a few reasons:

  1. Distorted perception

If a part of us is feeling strong emotions this can distort our perception of reality, causing us to interpret situations and information through the lens of that particular part’s beliefs and biases. This can cloud our intuition, making it challenging to discern the true voice of our inner wisdom.

2. Emotional Bias

Strong emotional reactions are often driven by past experiences, trauma or conditioned responses. These emotional biases can colour our perception and judgment, clouding our ability to discern the intuitive guidance that arises beyond those emotional reactions.

Here’s a quick checklist to help you understand the mindset you’re making a decision from. If you answer yes to one or all of these questions it could be from a place beyond your centred self:

  • Do you feel like you are reacting rather than responding?
  • Do you feel stuck or extreme?
  • Are you lacking compassion or curiosity towards yourself, others or the situation?
  • Do you feel disconnected?
  • Are you repeating familiar (negative) patterns of behaviour?

Returning to the centred self could involve releasing tension and distractions, cultivating a sense of stillness and practicing mindfulness.

In conclusion, recognising the roadblocks to intuition, such as lack of awareness, conflicting desires, brain override and distractions, allows us to overcome these obstacles and create space for intuitive insights to emerge. Understanding where we are making decisions from, specifically whether we are operating from our centred self or being influenced by emotions, is crucial for accessing and trusting our intuition.

If you have any thoughts, want some help making a decision or would like to share your own intuitive process I’d love to hear from you! You can find my contact details here. I also work with a number of companies as an advisor.

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Dr. Louise Rix
The Mental Game

Female Health, Product, ex-Chief Medical Officer at Béa Fertility, Founder, VC. 🧠 Writing about health tech, female health and The Mental Game 💡 louiserix.com