This Spring, Officer Chad Taylor was the guest speaker for my criminal law class at the University of West Georgia. I had no idea how animated his presentation would be. He engaged the students with demonstrations of dangerous encounters and asked what they would do if they had uneasy feelings about a person or situation. It was unique, interactive, and based on something I have rarely thought of; intuition.
Before the class, Chad and I were discussing books that focused on strategy and tactics on the streets, in the interrogation room, and in the courtroom. When we were discussing the concept of intuition, he suggested that I read The Gift of Fear by Gavin DeBecker.
I finished the book this weekend and my entire perspective regarding intuition has changed.
The book is based on the premise that intuition is not some mythical, unscientific concept, but is rather a scientifically sound source of information which your unconscious mind then processes to come up with “hunches,” “gut feelings,” and premonitions.
DeBecker, as a security expert to a variety of government officials and famous people around the world, clearly knows his subject matter.
Do you remember the last time you felt uneasy about someone or something for no apparent reason? What about decision making in your personal and professional life? Have some of those decisions been made based on an inner feeling?
For example, Amie Simpson, a domestic violence attorney says intuition is what makes some lawyers know when to ask that one last question during cross examination, when a witness is lying, when the judge has decided to make a ruling, when to nudge that other attorney during negotiations, and when to back off.
The same intuition used at home and work applies to more dangerous situations too. Intuition can naturally help us deal with extremely problematic people in our lives, help single people determine whether an admirer is a potential date, or a potential stalker, respond appropriately during stressful or dangerous situations, choose child care providers, survive episodes of family violence, and many other scenarios.
In all of these situations, DeBecker says that intuition tries to get our attention through nagging feelings, persistent thoughts, anxiety, hesitation, curiosity, or dark humor. He tells the story of a group of office staff who were sorting through the mail at the California Forestry Association. An unusual package was in the mail addressed to the former president of the association. Everyone speculated on what might be in the package.
When the staff finally decided to open it, one man (Bob Taylor) said, jokingly, “I’m going back to my office before the bomb goes off.” He walked down the hall to his desk, but before he sat down, he heard the enormous explosion that killed his boss. Because of intuition, that bomb didn’t kill Bob Taylor.
When DeBecker later talked with Taylor about the incident (attributed to the Unabomber), he was able to help Taylor recognize that he had seen the signs of danger all along: the strange way the package was addressed, its unusual weight, excessive postage and tape. His subconscious put the signs together and nudged him out of the room.
Over and over, DeBecker recounts stories of people whose lives were saved by listening to that small voice inside.
I believe that God gave us the gift of intuition. However, those inner signals and outer signals are often ignored or thought of as “superstition” or “just an overreaction.”
I have ignored those inner intuitive signals for years. But, today I am learning how to focus on them and use this gift.
The Gift of Fear doesn’t suggest replacing intelligent choices with intuition. DeBecker stresses the importance of combining the two. His book reveals a road map that has been there all along, but of which most of us are not aware. It is a map to safety and good decision making by way of common sense and self-awareness.
His book will make you think twice the next time your intuition tries to get your attention.