We all have intuition. That feeling which often makes us do or avoid doing something for some unknown reasons has proved right in many occasions, but wrong in many others as well.
Some people define intuition as an instinct which tells us what’s good or not or warns us about something in the future, and for all this we don’t need a logical proof. Others describe it as a form of intelligence and some as a combination of the two. If all these explanations are taken into consideration, we can all agree that intuition is a great and exceptional ability of our mind.
Gerd Gigerenzer, a director at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development, defines intuition as the ability to understand what information we don’t need to know and discard it.
Gigerenzer closely connects intuition to intelligence. For instance, he says that social intelligence is influenced by some intuitive factors, such as trust, identification, cooperation, wishful thinking, deception and rumor. He also states that both good and bad changes which happen in society result from these factors, and not from reasoning.
In his book, Gut Feelings: the Intelligence of the Unconscious, Gigerenzer says that our reasoning can be in conflict with our intuition, and that we often bring decisions without knowing the exact reasons. Yet, he admits that he’s both intuitive and rational. He follows his intuitive feelings which tell him what to do but he is also able to make calculations if there is a need. In his private life, he follows his instinct and acts without overthinking.
The question is whether we should rely solely on intuition without inspecting things and searching for some more knowledge. This is certainly something for which we’ll have to find the answer for ourselves. We can decide whether to simply act or not as our intuition tells us or look for other possibilities led by our intelligence through practice. It isn’t surprising that different people have different intuition. If one can be sure that they always do the right thing by being driven by their intuition, then that’s the right thing to do. However, if some are never sure whether to trust their intuition or if their intuition has often proved wrong, then they could make some intellectual calculations.
The relation between intuition and intelligence is expressed in Albert Einstein’s saying: “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” Many a time we have been in a situation when we want to do something but there is that feeling telling us that there is something wrong with our decision. Intelligent people definitely follow that feeling, called intuition, and act accordingly.
Many people understand intuition as a collective intelligence. For instance, web pages are organized differently today from the way they were in the past. Today, it’s very easy for us to get to the information we need when we visit websites because they’re intuitively designed. This happened after many years – a time needed for web designers to decide which information is important and which one isn’t.
When it comes to intuitive design, Theo Humphries, a designer, and senior lecturer at Cardiff School of Art and Design, says that it can be used without needing new instructions. This means that we can easily use something by just relying on the ‘instruction’ of our previous experience.
You know yourself best. You know what ways of doing things work for you and which ones don’t. You should try to act logically, of course, but don’t forget that your intuition can stop you from making mistakes and help you achieve success.