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When Intuition Appears to Fail You

Recently Steve and I took a weekend trip to Phoenix, Arizona.  We had a great time and enjoyed visiting a new city.  We had an interesting experience while we were there that I want to share because it’s a great example of how intuition can sometimes appear to fail you, when in fact, it’s not failing you at all.

On Saturday afternoon we drove down to the Whole Foods in Tempe to check it out.  Our next stop was to go back to our hotel.  We knew exactly how to get back to our hotel via the streets, but we wondered if it would be faster to take the freeway.  We had a map, but usually I’m the one who drives while Steve navigates because, let’s just say that me and maps aren’t on friendly terms all the time. (Hey, I’m a chick.  I ask for directions when I’m lost.  Map?  Pfft, who needs a map?) 😉
I can see on the map that if we take the 10 it will connect to the 51 and drop us off right at our hotel.  Steve says, “Well do you think we should take the freeway or the streets?  Which looks faster?”  I wasn’t sure, I couldn’t really gauge that information.  Suddenly we see an entrance to the 10 and Steve says, “What does your intuition say?”  My intuition screamed loudly into my ear that we should, “Get on that freeway entrance, right now!”  I dropped the map, confident that I knew where we were going.  How hard could it be?  Take the 10 and look for the 51.  No problem.  I did think it was a little odd how the entrance to the 10 came up so fast when on the map it looked like it would connect much further north.  But oh well, an entrance is an entrance right?  So I told Steve to get on the 10 and he did.

Now we’re cruising along and all seems well.  But after a short time Steve says, “Well our hotel is off 7th street and we’re passing that now.  When does this freeway turn north?”  I unfolded the gigantic map again and said, “Any time now, should be another couple of exits or so.”  He continued driving.  After we passed 1st street he says, “Erin, this can’t be right.  We’re way west of where we should be.  We should have turned north by now.  Are you sure you’re reading that thing right?”  I was sure… well… mostly.  Finally Steve says, “Erin, there is no 51 coming up.  Now we’re on the 17.  How did we get from the 10 to the 17?”  Boy am I confused.  I have no idea where we are or how we got on the wrong freeway.  This is why I always drive while Steve navigates, a fact he was pointing out to me every few seconds.

Eventually Steve decides we need to get off the freeway and take the streets north so we’re headed in the right direction.  Now, just as I’m beating myself up for my lack of mapping abilities and beginning to get just a little perturbed at my intuition for steering me so wrong, we notice something off our port side.  The Arizona Science Center.  Hmm.  Arizona Science Center?  One of our very favorite things to do on vacation is find science and discovery museums.  We love to spend hours playing with the interactive displays.  Steve says, “Hey look!  A science museum.  You didn’t tell me Phoenix had a science museum.”  I replied, “It never came up in my research.  This is big news to me!  Let’s look it up online when we get back to our hotel and see if it’s interactive so we can go play.”  He agreed.  Steve got us back to our hotel using his superior mental mapping skills, and we discovered to our delight that the Arizona Science Center was exactly the kind of museum we love to go to.  We made plans to spend the entire Sunday there, canceling other, less worthy, plans to do it.
Back at our hotel, Steve took a look at my map to try to figure out where I went so wrong. Turns out I didn’t.  There were two entrances to the 10.  One led directly to the 51 and the other connected with the 17.  When I saw the entrance to the 10 looming before us I figured it was the one we should get on.  I didn’t know there were two and that the one we really wanted was a few miles up the road from where we got on.  Shrug.  Live and learn.

So what happened?  Did my intuition fail me?  I don’t think so.  We never would have known about that science museum if we hadn’t gotten on that exact on-ramp.  If I had read the map correctly, we would have missed the Science Center completely.  Remember, my intuition told me we should get on that on-ramp, not the one coming up in the future.  Why did it do that?  Because my guides knew what would happen if we did, and that it would serve my life better than if we got on the 10 in the right spot.

This isn’t the first time I’ve followed my intuition and ended up in a pickle that later turned out to be a blessing.  Sometimes we can’t always see where the road will go, we just know we need to be on it.  Sometimes when it seems you’re lost, you’re actually right where you’re supposed to be.  Sometimes when you feel like you’re headed in the wrong direction, a wonderful surprise is waiting for you just around the bend.  Consult and trust your intuition.  Especially if your mapping skills are similar to mine. 😉

Has anyone else ever taken a “wrong turn” only to discover that it was exactly where they needed to go?

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