According to Lehrer, when we try to be logical, we consciously engage a powerful area of the brain, the pre-frontal cortex. This is the area that associates perceptions and relates cause-and-effect information to create meaning. Conscious attention is limited, however. We can only pay attention to a handful of variables at the same time. Also, being consciously logical is a slow process.
My favorite intuition story is about how NFL quarterbacks know which receiver to throw the ball to. After the snap, a lot of things begin to happen all at once, many of them violent and unforeseen. Five receivers could be running different patterns simultaneously as the defense reacts. What happens in each case is unpredictable. The quarterback can’t sort through all this information logically in the few seconds it takes for the defensive linemen to reach him. So the best quarterbacks don’t try. They just throw to the receiver that “feels right.”
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The above is an excerpt from an article I wrote for the weekly Golden Eggs ezine. Lehrer's book is quite entertaining, and I loved his brain-based treatment of decision-making. It's the best explanation of intuition I've ever read. The article summarizes the best stories from the book. You probably should use your own intuition with more confidence, and with more care. To read the full article, check this week's issue of Golden Eggs. If you haven't subscribed yet, you can do so in the box at the top of this page.
Post by Dennis E. Coates, Ph.D., Copyright 2010. Building Personal Strength .