Engineering is all about rational thought processes, analyzation, critical thinking and problem solving. It’s not about creativity and intuition. Except that maybe it is. How can you improve your intuition? More than that, why would you want to?
Engineers are trained to make decisions based on reasoning. But intuition might help all of the other thought processes used every day perform better. You might not rely on your instincts at work, at least not on purpose. But developing your intuitive skills could help the left brain and right brain work better together, and help you become a better engineer.
You Probably Use Intuition Already
Intuition is your gut, says Christian Knutson for Engineering.com. It’s that hunch that pushes you in one direction instead of another. Instead of the methodical reasoning that leads to a result, it’s the stuff that can’t be adequately described but makes you choose which methodical reasoning makes the most sense to you.
Because intuition is such a personal thing, you won’t find specific exercises for making it stronger. But there are some clues that you can look for. For some people, the hunch or gut feeling is just something that’s there. But for most people, it’s there because you have a lot of experience and a lot of knowledge in that area.
Why Intuition Matters
A stronger sense of intuition, and the result of listening to it, helps bolster self-confidence, according to Knutson. It can help you make quicker decisions, and see (and seize) new opportunities.
If you think that it doesn’t matter because intuition can’t be relied on as 100 percent accurate, consider this. Nothing in your career can be proven with 100 percent accuracy. You can get reasonably close. But there’s always that chance. Neither approach is foolproof, and so maybe your gut deserves more of a shot.
The More You Use it the Stronger it Gets
Like a muscle in your body, intuition gets a little stronger every time that you exercise it. Go with your gut on a decision that turns out the way you’d hoped, and the next time it’s a little easier to listen to the inner voice. And the more that you trust it, the faster and more easily those decisions come.
Knutson suggests that if you’re not comfortable with trusting your instincts, you can work up to it. Start small, using a hunch on a problem that doesn’t have a lot of importance. If you’re wrong, there’s nothing major lost and you can evaluate why it went south. But if you’re right, that’s one more step up the ladder of learning to trust both your brain and your intuition.
Trusting your intuition isn’t about replacing skills with hunches. It’s about listening to those hunches so that your skills can work better, more efficiently and faster.
Your intuition already pops up regularly, and it’s rooted in areas where you have a lot of experience. Once you learn to trust it, your self-confidence will grow and so will your ability to make bigger and more important decisions with much less difficulty.
Engineering continuing education is part of the experience that helps your intuition grow stronger. When it’s time for your next professional development hours, check out what PDH Academy has to offer. Our PE approved courses are a hassle-free way to keep your licensing requirements current and stay on top in your industry.