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How to Unlock Your Sixth Sense

Neuroplasticity fosters growth through mindfulness, EI, and curiosity.

 Jambulboy/ Pixabay
Source: Jambulboy/ Pixabay

Co-authored by Kathleen Joy.

In today's rapidly evolving and dynamic landscape, the ability to think innovatively, solve intricate problems, and adapt to new challenges is of paramount importance.

Why Subtle Intelligence Is Important

Subtle intelligence, a concept I (Kathleen) conceived of, refers to a form of intuitive knowing, a deeper level of understanding that transcends rationality and logic. It serves as a gateway to collaborative endeavors, kindling creativity and catalyzing personal transformation. It encompasses the intuitive, adaptive, and imaginative faculties that reside within everyone, awaiting activation. Some may think of it as intuition, knowing, or ultra-fine, astute perception. Subtle intelligence allows us to perceive patterns and make connections across brain regions. The information from subtle intelligence is closely related to neuroplasticity.

For leaders, coaches, and professionals, subtle intelligence is crucial because it fosters creativity, informs decision-making, and improves problem-solving skills. It stimulates creative thinking, enabling leaders to foresee novel possibilities and promote organizational development.

Coaches can help clients come up with original solutions by using subtle intelligence to inspire new viewpoints. This intelligence can be used by experts from various fields to approach issues differently and offer original insights.

Additionally, subtle intelligence gives people a nuanced understanding of complicated situations, empowering them to make wise decisions. Leaders can weigh various points of view and make decisions that maximize results. To assist clients in making difficult decisions, coaches can provide comprehensive perspectives.

Professionals equipped with subtle intelligence can think adaptively, identify innovative solutions, and overcome obstacles with resilience and creativity. Embracing subtle intelligence enables people to thrive in today's dynamic professional environment, excel in their roles, and bring about meaningful change.

The remarkable ability of the brain to change and rewire itself, known as neuroplasticity, is essential for fostering subtle intelligence. We gain profound insights into the mind's potential by comprehending the complexities of neuroplasticity, the function of neurotransmitters, and the involvement of particular brain regions. Furthermore, the default mode network (DMN), a network of brain areas activated during introspection, fosters self-reflection, imagination, and the connection of seemingly unrelated ideas, ultimately igniting those innovative "aha" moments.

The Growth and Development of Subtle Intelligence

Let us appreciate the contributions of the limbic system, neurotransmitters, and the complex dance of brain regions as we explore the depths of subtle intelligence.

Although the structure and operation of the brain serve as a foundation for subtle intelligence, it is not a fixed trait. Through deliberate practice and instruction, it can be improved:

  • Practices like mindfulness and meditation enhance subtle intelligence by improving self-awareness and receptivity to intuitive insights. They activate brain regions involved in introspection and emotional processing. For example, regular mindfulness meditation strengthens neural connections within the brain's default mode network (DMN), facilitating the perception of subtle patterns.
  • Developing emotional intelligence and empathy stimulates the mirror neuron system, enhancing the perception of subtle emotional cues and informed decision-making.
  • Cultivating intuition involves valuing gut feelings and subconscious knowledge, which can be fostered through journaling, lucid dreaming, and reflection.
  • Curiosity and open-mindedness stimulate neuroplasticity, expanding cognitive growth and creativity.
  • Using the imagination and practicing the creative arts can also enhance subtle intelligence for one is consistently facing unknowns, practicing trust in one’s instincts, and making unexpected connections.

Enemies of Subtle Intelligence: Stress and Cognitive Overload

In fast-paced workplaces, stress and cognitive overload threaten subtle intelligence. Distractions and information overload hinder concentration and creativity. Design intentional spaces for focused attention and reflection to overcome these barriers. Setting aside quiet areas or incorporating mindfulness breaks helps manage information influx and develop subtle intelligence.

Developing a growth mindset promotes neuroplasticity and subtle intelligence. Resilience turns setbacks into learning opportunities. Supportive communities foster the development of subtle intelligence.

Recognize the role of neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin, along with neuroplasticity, in enhancing cognitive abilities and mood control. Maximize cognitive potential and create an environment conducive to subtle intelligence by adopting practices supporting healthy brain functioning. Manage stress, overcome cognitive overload, and nurture a growth mindset to unleash creative potential.


Embarking on the journey of developing subtle intelligence unveils possibilities for self-discovery. Understanding neuroplasticity and practicing mindfulness, emotional intelligence, and curiosity unlock our hidden potential and foster profound growth. To rise above information overload and distractions, intentional spaces that promote focus and reflection, like designated Zen zones or mindfulness breaks, rejuvenate our minds and empower subtle intelligence.

Let us challenge conventional notions and expand our understanding of what is possible by exploring the interconnectedness of neuroplasticity, adaptability, and intuitive cognition. Equipped with pragmatic strategies and profound insights, we overcome obstacles, tap into our inherent creativity, and unlock our potential.

Leadership consultant Kathleen Joy is the author of Empowerment Amidst Chaos: Master Any Moment with Creativity and Grace.


Joy, Kathleen. (2023), Empowerment Amidst Chaos: Master the Moment with Creativity and Grace. San Francisco: Lumiere Press

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