Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Intuition and Hunches

I read a book review in Fast Company last night on "Gut Feelings: The Inteligence of the Unconscious" by psychologist Gerd Gigerenzer. It sounds like it is similar to Blink by Malcom Gladwell (one of my favourite thought leader/authors) - aptly subtitled "The power of thinking without Thinking."

The gist of the message seems to be there can be great value in instinct and gut feelings. But "In modern society, gut thinking has a bad reputation".

My experience is every time I go against my gut feelings, I regret it. The same is not true however for always being right when I have a gut feeling to do something. Perhaps I should start tracking what my hunch is at the time big decisions are made then track the outcome (tracking decisions and outcome is a good practise in any event - a practise that Edward Deming (another favourite) preached)

My brother, Glen, is a brilliant and highly logical thinker. I worked with him for many years and learned that he needed data to back up my gut feelings and a I learned to build cases for what needed to be done. Sometimes though, I got trapped into trying to prove a case using data where no clear data existed (like what is going to happen in the future). I have sometime even found my logic sometimes would beat my intuition so I end up overriding my intuition which is where the danger lies.

My goal is to increase the validity of my intuition and I think the best way to do that is to pour in more knowledge. What leads to good decisions is having lots of information and detail (ideally without passing judgement up front). So I try to constantly feed my mind so when decisions need to be made, I can make them right. And of course one principle I practise is fast decision making since usually it is better to make a fast imperfect decision that a slow perfect one.

As I have matured (and some would argue I still have a long way to go), I have learned to trust my instincts and hunches more.


At 8:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice one! I think the challenge can be to catch your hunches before they disappear into thin air. They often come out of nowhere, so it's easy to shrug them off, rather than stopping, thinking about it, writing it down and then following up. Only later it smacks you in the face when you remember the hunch you didn't follow. So for me, it's heightened awareness first.

At 6:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Donald Trump's New Book - Think Big and Kick A** - 2007 - devotes a whole chapter on following hunches and your gut feelings.


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