My Biggest Mistake: Louise White

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A member of the Moores family, which runs the Littlewoods pools, mail order and retail group, she worked for the family business and Friends of the Earth before setting up the Life centre, a fitness and health centre, in London last year.

MY BIGGEST mistake is actually more of a bad habit, but it seems to be at the root of all the mistakes I make. Whenever I have a problem that I need to resolve, I seem to have two voices in my head - the logical intellectual one that understands and relies on education, books and newspapers to feel confident, and my intuitive voice that seems to leap out with no justification at all but incredible conviction. My biggest mistakes arise when I do not listen to my intuitive voice.

My early adult life was plagued with mistakes made because I had not been taught to listen to my intuitive voice. In fact, quite the opposite, I had been taught not to trust it. Even if I knew my intuitive response was correct, I had to justify my decisions with my intellectual mind. Sometimes I could; other times it was impossible and I would compromise - inevitably a mistake.

A few years ago, I started meditating. I found it incredibly difficult. I tried mantras, looking for a white light between my eyebrows, focusing on my breathing, and endless other techniques without success. It drove me mad. I had so many friends who had benefited enormously from meditation and I was determined not to miss out. Eventually I came across a book suggesting that people visualised clear blue sky when meditating and saw thoughts as clouds. The idea was to move the clouds on and keep a clear blue sky at all times.

I have used this technique ever since and have not only developed the ability to have a still mind but use meditation to trust in my intuitive mind. I now calm myself in times of stress by visualising a clear blue sky (you don't need to be in the lotus position to meditate. I do it frequently at my desk in the office). When I have achieved a still mind, I focus on the problem and, wham] - my intuitive voice comes bursting through and I know with absolute conviction what I need to do. It very rarely lets me down. In fact I would say the only time it has let me down is when I have not realised clearly enough the problem I need to resolve.

The Life Centre, the natural health and fitness centre I have opened in Kensington, was certainly inspired by the feeling that we all need to develop our ability to utilise the intuitive mind. There can hardly be an entrepreneur in the country who is not recognised as having a feeling for the business he or she has succeeded in.

Yoga, meditation and such treatments as acupuncture, postural work, homeopathy and many others, bring us back to our intuitive selves. Stress levels are reduced and people feel more confident. Creativity flows and decisions are easier to make.

Before I set up the Life Centre, I worked at Friends of the Earth and in the retail division of Littlewoods. In both these vastly different organisations, I was able to appreciate the amazing abilities of people committed to their chosen field with a sense of vision that went beyond anything they could have been taught.

Their insight and understanding seemed to me to be intuitive, and I believe most people who rise above the average manage this because they have developed a strong instinct for what they do. We can all develop our intuitive selves, and increase our sense of well-being, at the same time as increasing creativity and reducing stress.

(Photograph omitted)