Intuition, gut feeling, hunch or instinct… whatever you call it, that sixth sense you sometimes have that tells you quite clearly and silently the best decision to make is a real thing. Some people seem to have better instincts than others. There are those that believe all humans are connected in some way that is beyond our understanding, and they say this is why your gut instinct can help you make the right choice, even if you personally have not been involved in such a decision before.
There is the other side of the decision-making camp as well.
Many people say that perceptions and gut reactions are nothing more than a person’s subconscious leaning one way or another towards a decision, because of prejudices, experiences and previous knowledge that person has developed. They will tell you that 10 times out of 10, reason and logic should dictate the decisions you make. They believe you should objectively compile all possible and relevant information, study that information, then make a nonjudgmental decision.
Learning when you will need intuition and when would you have to rely on reasoning will improve your decision making process and allow you to choose the best option based on the correct factors.
Reason Versus Intuition – Which Side Is Right?
Neither side here is really right or wrong. The reasoning side of the argument can’t make much of an informed decision when there isn’t a lot of information to go on. Since they rely on knowledge and experience as well as past results and behaviors to make a decision, what happens when they are presented with choices where they have no frame of reference?
There is no information available. They have never been in this situation before. They are in an unfamiliar environment, and have absolutely no idea what type of decision to make. What do they do then?
The definition of reason is “a cause, explanation, or justification for an action or event.” If they can’t explain their situation, they have no information or past experience to justify a decision, and they can’t see the cause of the position they are in, how can reasonable people make a decision? In this case, they would have no choice but to rely on their gut feeling, what their instinct is telling them.
The other case can also present itself.
You may know someone who makes snap decisions, even on important matters, and is right all of the time. That person has developed the ability to listen to his or her “gut”, and make a decisive choice. Let’s replicate the example from above.
What if an instinctual person is presented with mounds and mounds of statistical data, information, past experiences and other knowledge concerning a choice. What if all of that wealth of information points to choice A as the correct decision, but instinct is slightly leaning towards choice B? What should that person do? Should they ignore obvious evidence that A is the right choice to make, simply because they “feel” differently?
Science Weighs in on the Issue
There’s been a lot of research into whether or not hunches, gut feelings and instinct are real or imagined. It turns out that intuition is most probably your brain using unconscious information. In other words, it really is making a reasonable, logical choice, but since it is accessing information that has been compiled and stored by your subconscious, you feel it as a gut instinct or hunch.
Studies also show that the more a person tries to make an instinctual decision, the more access to the unconscious part of their brain that person has. This means that when you have little information to go on, trust your instinct. Use it more often. You will find yourself becoming more adept at making intelligent decisions the more frequently that you “go with your gut”.
When you are presented with plenty of evidence or information, turn to the reasoning side of your brain instead. Don’t ignore what is the obvious choice just because your gut tells you differently.