You, But Faster

I think people often mistake intuition for emotion, and vice versa. They aren’t the same. Emotions are inputs; if we’re not careful we can confuse them for decisions and act accordingly, but that’s foolish. They’re sources of data; senses, like hearing and sight. Use them to collect information, but never let them drive.

Intuition is different. If tuned correctly, your intuition should reach mostly the same conclusions as your higher reasoning, just more quickly and without offering supporting explanations. Your early view of your intuition should be “trust, but verify.” Remember, it’s the same brain. It’s just jumping to the conclusions that you might have reached yourself more slowly.

That doesn’t mean it’s never wrong – but you’re not always right, either. And sometimes when we take too long to reach a decision, we overthink it to the point where we introduce errors our intuition didn’t encounter.

When you do end up going with your intuitive response and acting upon it, the most important thing you can do is still engage your higher reasoning after the fact to analyze the decision. Without the pressure of an immediate deadline, let your slower intellect puzzle out how the decision got made and whether it was a good one. Then retain that information (maybe even blog about it to really get it to stick) and help your intuition calibrate. The closer you can get to the point where your speedy intuition reaches the same conclusions as your slower deliberation would have reached, the better.

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