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July 11, 2021

Rational Thinking vs. Intuition – Which one to follow?

Here’s my take on it:

As a strong analytical thinker myself, looking at things from various perspectives, analysing facts and structuring action steps are some of my strength. This is an advantage in many ways. Analytical thinking takes place in the neocortex, the youngest and arguably most advanced part of the human brain. The same part of the brain gives us the ability to reflect and have awareness of our thoughts (unlike other animals).

At the same time I’m very intuitive, which is a gift as well. I trust my gut feeling and rely on it in many ways. Intuition is widely misunderstood. In my understanding our intuition, or gut feeling, is the access to the subconscious mind. Current research estimates that 95% or more of our brain activity is subconscious. It would simply be impossible to consciously process all input (i.e. sensory stimulation) at all times. Imagine you’d always be aware of ALL sounds and visuals of your surroundings.
So that being said, our intuition is powerful, as we pick up on things that are there without us consciously realising that. A good example is when somebody lies to you. Your brain picks up on subtleties, e.g. the person’s body language, mimics, tone and even their smell, and notices if something is not congruent with what they say. Without consciously thinking about the person’s posture or eye movements, your subconscious perceives that there is ‘a wrong note in the symphony’.
The precondition to following your intuition is to be really in tune with yourself. ‘Fear’ for example likes to disguise itself as ‘intuition’ when it’s not. This is something to watch out for. Also, sometimes an idea doesn’t feel right, but it’s not the whole idea that’s wrong for you, only part of it needs a little tweak or change.

The conclusion of it all: using rational thinking AND intuition complementary, gives you the greatest advantage to taking the decision that’s the best for you at the time.

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Alexandra Arenz  |  Contribution: 650