Should You Listen To Your Intuition?
Decision Making: Should you listen to your intuition? That is the question…
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Whenever you read something about decision making or making choices, the topic of trusting your intuition will never be far away. Should we or shouldn’t we? The simple answer is to know when you can and when you can’t. But how do we do that?
I want to use a very clear example of both high speed intuition and reaction against a more balanced approach using the cognitive abilities as well. Apparently 17 million people in the UK watched Andy Murray win the men’s Wimbledon title on Sunday. Was he making decisions as he went through the match or was it all just intuition? Let’s look at two scenarios, mid-game or rally and when sitting down at a change of ends or end of a set. I suspect two very separate processes were going on.
In the middle of a rally, nobody has the ability to look at what their opponent has done and then make a formal decision. So how do they know what to do? Answer: In the case of people like Andy Murray, they are experts and they know what the key indicators are that they have to look for in one another and what is happening. Murray and Djokovic have played one another nineteen times on the ATP tour since 2006 and, not including the olympics semi-final last year, have played 51 sets of competitive tennis against each other in that time. Do you think they might know a bit about each other? How much video of Djokovic do you think Andy and his coach Ivan Lendl have watched? So now, they are probably experts on watching one another’s movements to anticipate what they are going to do. The commentators on Sunday were marvelling at the length of the rallies. Actually, if you think about it, it’s really not surprising at all. You have the best two male tennis players as currently ranked in the world, both fit, they know one another really well and both well practiced. It’s going to be really hard work for them to fool one another.
In that situation, decision making during the rallies will be both intuitive and immediate. But that intuitive decision making will be based on knowledge about the opponent and themselves, also on the game strategy decided on before the match. An intention will have been set with his coach as to how to go about winning. So, within an overall strategy and plan, the intuitive decision making is then allowed to run. Why? Because they know they can trust it. He is an expert!
So what happens at the change of ends or the end of a set? Here I suspect a more cognitive process is going on. Here’s the type of thing I’d suspect is happening in that two minutes.
- Remind myself of the overall strategy and what I’m trying to achieve.
- What is going well and working? Ergo, what do I want to keep doing?
- What do I want to change or improve from now on?
- Confirm my plan.
So what we have is a reset and, if necessary, an adjustment of the strategy and intention that will will then affect the intuitive decisions from then on.
How does this effect us? The simple fact is for you to really trust your intuition and not use any processing on it at all you need to be a true expert in the areas that you are making the decision. That intuition takes years to develop and practice. So what you have to work out is what are the areas where you are a true expert and where you aren’t.
The good news is that there are very few decisions in life where we HAVE to rely just on our intuition. In my decision making process “Stop, Think, Act!” I explain how to listen to your intuition and then include it in your thinking.