Deciding Without Thinking: Intuitive Intelligence
You might have been told at some point that you don’t think before you speak or make a decision, as if that was an insult. However, that might be a virtue, if you’ve learned to use intuitive intelligence.
“When we make small decisions, it’s advantageous to analyze the pros and cons. In vital matters, the decision should be made unconsciously, from a place deep within us.”
Up until a few decades ago, there wasn’t much knowledge about intelligence. We understood intelligence as the ability to solve logical problems, for example. Then a theory emerged that made everyone’s jaw drop: the theory of multiple intelligences.
Scientists have noticed that human beings have many more abilities and intelligences than simply the ability to solve an equation or string phrases along. Additionally, in recent years there’s been a lot of research on the concept of intuitive intelligence. This theory refers to the way we make our decisions.
As Freud said, the decisions that really matter in our lives, such as those about a partner or a job, should be governed by the laws of nature, by our intuitions.
What does this mean? That if we rely on intuition and not on thought, if we keep in mind the practice and not the theory, and if we don’t allow fear and insecurities to govern us, then our decisions will never be inherently “right” or “wrong.”
Many times we turn a blind eye towards the emotions generated in the depths of our being, because we prefer to pay attention to what reason says.
Why does the mind have to be decide? Can our hearts be right?
Intuitive intelligence: thinking with your emotions
The theory of multiple intelligences emerged thanks to a sociologist of Canadian origin called Malcolm Gladwell. He affirms that we have the capacity to apply certain logic to situations based on our experiences, which are truly ephemeral and subjective. But we are also capable of determining what is more important, in a short amount of time, like a blink of an eye. This is intuitive intelligence.
If we use it, we can solve problems and make decisions quickly. This concept without a doubt goes against our ideas and customs. We’re taught from a young age that to make good decisions you have to think things through, “sleep on it,” let a few days go by, etc.
Unlike the classic method of decision making — analyzing what’s right and wrong with each option — this sociologist invites us to decide without thinking so much. Or rather, invites us to make decisions based on our emotions and experiences, not on reasoning or the concepts we’ve previously been taught.
Having more information is not always good for decision making. We could analyze something 20 times over, look for more information, ask other people’s opinions, do some research or go to the middle of nowhere to think it through. But this won’t guarantee success or picking the right choice.
According to the theory of intuitive intelligence, time and deep analyzing can deal us a bad hand by confusing us or even boring us in the process. That’s how you make a wrong decision, since the brain “blocks” itself.
We could compare our brain to a server. What happens if you open too many windows and try to perform a dozen tasks at once? Exactly, it collapses. The same thing happens in your brain when it’s submitted to too much information, as well as too much pressure.
Another clear example that will help us understand the theory of intuitive intelligence is when we want to eat something sweet. We go to the store and see the vast amount of candies and chocolates. We can spend hours making up our minds… Instead, if we open up our refrigerator at home and (with luck) we have two choices of sweets, we’ll take much less time deciding and will spend more time enjoying the dessert.
We can practice the principles of intuitive intelligence, by keeping “an open mind.” Learn to read the messages or signs which emotions send you and, once in a while, let yourself get carried away by them.