INTUITION COMES FROM EXPERIENCE – Bo in the trenches / by Bo Gerard

When you are selling yourself to a potential client, you might mention that along with all of your experience comes a scientifically proven ability to make unconscious decisions in the moment that improve and propel your performance to a stellar level.  (But maybe you won’t put that way, exactly.)

Intuition, or tacit knowledge, is difficult to measure, so it is often denigrated.  A 2008 dissertation in education research from Linköping University in Sweden shows that there is a neurobiological explanation for how experience-based knowledge is created.


“My legs think faster than I do” (Swedish alpine skiing champion Ingemar Stenmark). “Skate where the puck´s going, not where it´s been” (Wayne Gretsky).
Lars-Erik Björklund uses these quotations in his dissertation to illustrate what we mean by intuition, tacit knowledge, hands-on knowledge, or practical wisdom.  It is based on experience and is something that experts in many fields possess.  “In studies from the 1980s on nurses, it was shown that those who had been in the profession for a long time saw more and made better judgments more quickly.  It was referred to as an intuitive ability,” says Lars-Erik Björklund, who devoted his thesis to a review of research in various fields involving this knowledge.

A few years before this dissertation, neuroscientists discovered that the human brain has dual systems for receiving and analyzing sensory impressions, one conscious and one unconscious.  In the unconscious, that is the non-declarative system, our sensory impressions are compared with previously stored images.  We all have an inner picture book of stored experiences based on what has happened to us previously in life.  We also remember the outcome - did it end well or badly?  With the aid of these stored sensory impressions, we unconsciously assess the situation at hand and can predict the outcome.


So, the longer you have been performing and the more varied performing experiences you have had, the more valuable you are to your clients.  Because of your years of experience, you are truly an expert. (Noun- Having special skill or knowledge derived from training or experience- Merriam-Webster)  “Experts may not be as hungry or energetic as a young recently certified associate, but they have a superior ability to see and judge what should and what can be done,” Björklund writes in his conclusion.

I heartily agree!