Reliance on Intuition

Note to my future self…

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about whether I rely too much on my intuition to make decisions? I will be honest, a lot of the time I’ve made decisions because they felt “right” but I couldn’t articulate why exactly that was the case. Is over-relying on your intuition good or bad?

The way I interpret intuition (and this might not be accurate)* is that intuition is your brain giving you an answer to a problem but not showing you the “work”. In other words, you know what to do (the answer) but can’t really surface that to a conscious level because you cannot walk yourself through the process to get to the answer that you got (the work). The answer is encoded in some form of non-verbal format that can only be decoded if it’s surfaced to your conscious level. The “work” then is really about decoding that answer and translating it into language. If you can do this you can rationalize your decisions. In other words, you can walk yourself through the logical steps and arrive to a conclusion. This process of going back and forth a decision tree is not something you get with intuition.

Now the thing is that your brain might not have the resources to crunch all of the thousands of data points that it has been exposed to AND synthesize all of it into a nice and cohesive argument. This is why, I believe, we rely a lot on the arguments of other individuals to confirm our own “intuition”. These individuals have done the legwork of stitching everything together.

In any case, relying on intuition is probably not a bad thing. It’s a biological mechanism that helps us make better decisions more quickly.

So what’s the point?

I don’t think there’s any key takeaway from this right now other than the fact that I find it very important to think about what role does intuition play into our decision-making and how can rely on it without going on auto-pilot mode.

In any case, that’s it.

Now back to work…

Everything in this post reflects my own intuition (pun intended) about how I think about things so I am not even going to try to link to any studies sorry ¯\(ツ)*/¯