Five easy rules for developing intuition, based on trailblazing research by a top Australian neuroscientist. Learn when it’s safe to rely on intuition in decision-making and when it’s not.
Intuition has saved lives and averted disasters, and it also lies behind countless innovative decisions. Steve Jobs, for one, regularly relied on his intuition in making business decisions at Apple.
Some people use intuition more readily than others but anyone can learn to develop and trust it. The key is ensuring that certain conditions are met so as to avoid the pitfalls. Neuroscientist Joel Pearson has identified five essential rules for using intuition, easily remembered by the acronym SMILE:
S: Self-awareness (Feeling emotional? Don't trust your intuition)
M: Mastery (Learn before you leap: why mastery matters for intuition)
I: Impulses and Addiction (These are not intuition)
L: Low Probability (Don’t use intuition for probabilistic judgments)
E: Environment (Use intuition only in familiar and predictable contexts)
In explaining these rules, Joel takes anecdotes from real life, including mountain climber Jon Muir’s lifesaving decision; a gameshow that uses humans’ innate misunderstanding of probability to rig its prizes; why you should never go rock-climbing on a first date; and what happens when Usain Bolt races in low gravity. The Intuition Toolkit
is scientifically solid, highly readable and utterly fascinating.