The Great Game Theory Guide: #7 — Applying Intuition to Make the Best Decisions
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Q. Lewis, How can I know when I make a decision if my intuition is guiding me, or it is just my own internal biases leading the way?
Before we begin it may be of value for you to get an introduction to, and a simple explanation of the basics of game theory.
Below is an article (a-6 minutes read) as well as a more in-depth video to help you ease into the concept.
Both the article and video were created so they would be understood by a 12-year-old. If you have explored these explanations already just scroll down to the answer to the question concerning intuition.
A. One of the strongest elements of the subconscious mind is the ability to sense or know something immediately and without reasoning. This is what we call intuition.
For me, as a game theory strategist, intuition is an important tool. Often, after deductive reasoning, statistical analysis, and intense research, I am presented with two or more choices without the ability to know which choice is best. In these situations, I will use my “gut feeling” as part of my due diligence — my investigation, audit, and review of the available information to confirm the facts of a choice under consideration.
Sadly the idea of intuition, when it is actually talking to a person and how to use it effectively is completely misunderstood by those who claim to use it well.
Intuition is not something you need ever use while ignoring data, facts, or evidence that is readily available to you. That is not intuition. It is actually is willful ignorance. As my teacher used to say humorously, “People who use intuition in this way are confusing intuition with indigestion”.
Intuition may show up in many forms but researchers find that it is generally experienced in three specific ways.
- Physical sensations (kinesthetic)
- Emotions and feelings
- Symbols and images (mental)
Kinesthetic “intuitives” are those individuals with enhanced intuitive capabilities, and who experience physical sensations that communicate information. They feel physically “comfortable” or “uncomfortable” about something. This may appear as a gut feeling, a physical pain, or something that excites their heart.
This is usually experienced as a vague or specific feeling that has no explanation but ends up being right. For example, you might feel slightly depressed because you know something is wrong; you actually become sensitive to the emotional states of others around you; you recognize messages in their physical posture or you automatically have a certain feeling arise. You have empath sensitivity, and feel what others feel when specific messages are received by them. It is not an intellectual process but rather it happens right there at that moment. Emotional “intuitives” often say the words such as “I like” and “I don’t like,” or “this feels good or bad to me.” They respond to requests from others and make decisions based on how they feel. If they are not conscious of this quality, they may experience a feeling without realizing that they are picking up thoughts and feelings from another person.
This form of intuition may seem almost intellectual in nature: It may simply be an internal conversation you are having with yourself about a solution to a problem, or a brainstorm in the shower, a hunch, or a nagging thought that won’t go away in the mind of a person who is not normally obsessive about thoughts. These thoughts are about common sense and recognizing what seems obvious. Remember, intuition is not logical though it might initially be experienced as if it was. Mental intuition is actually a more goal-oriented sensibility than the other two forms of intuition.
According to my friend Nancy Rosanoff, a respected expert and writer on intuition, “Most often, people have a combination of the above three, though one form may be dominant. Rarely is someone totally one type. We categorize them only to indicate that there is more than one way to perceive intuitive information.”
As you learn to use your intuition, it is essential that you remove what is often called “Negative Self-Talk” from your internal conversation. “Limiting words”, including would, could, should, but, what if, try, and maybe, though not bad words, feed limited thinking and are of little value in helping the mind free itself from reactive thinking patterns. Focus on using “inquiry-oriented words” such as who, what, why, where, when, and how. In your private and public conversations, ask questions to bring you both the answers you need and the freedom that the right answers create. All of these help connect you to your intuitive capabilities.
Here is a Simple Mental Exercise to build your intuition. Practice this regularly and you will see the difference between a real intuitive ability, as opposed to the cognitive biases you have been telling yourself is you intuition
1. Stop whatever you are doing for just a few minutes.
2. Now, watch the inner working of your mind.
Do you see how it keeps switching from one thought to another? It is almost impossible to focus the mind. It’s as if it is incapable of stopping at any one idea. Instead, it wanders from this to that, and from that to others. The mind is like a television screen with thousands of images coming and going. At the same time that you are watching the television screen, there are millions of other images on the other channels.
Many educators complain that people have even shorter attention spans now than 10 or even 15 years ago; this is the ongoing state of the mind. Our individual personalities bounce from one sense to another, one thought to another, like a butterfly going from one flower to another.
The way to stop or transcend this pattern is to practice “mindful meditation”. The more focused your mind becomes the more easily it will be able to tap into the well of intuition.
Trust me when I tell you, that the nonsense you have convinced yourself is intuition, is usually you mind-fucking yourself. It is actually the denial of intuition. What you have done, in thinking this way, is you have simply replaced real intuition and replaced it with a disturbing or extremely confusing experience. One that is caused by deliberate, psychological self-manipulation.
I know this is so because I have researched it heavily…Oh, and my intuition also tells me it is so!
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