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Kindly consider this: 2+2.

I can bet what comes to your mind. Four right?

Question: Did you think before the number [four] came to mind? No, I guess. Guess what?: that’s your unconscious in action and Nobel prize winner Daniel Kahnemen refer to this as the system 1 (fast thinking).

However, if I ask you to consider this: 754*53. You probably know how to handle this but you have to go through your systems 2 (slow thinking) and dish me the answer.

If there is anything I learnt from Blink by Malcom Gladwell, it’s the ability to trust my instinctive judgment better. Some people tend to trust their conscious decision and are completely uneasy with the system 1, it turns out that there are several occasions where the unconscious judgement is far superior to the rational judgement.

Have you ever spotted a lady (or a guy) and the within a split second you knew “she (he) was just right” Have you considered why? When we meet someone, we don’t run through the list of desired qualities [our conscious mind comes up with], on the other hand, the system 1 takes over. In fact, a body of research has shown that – for the most part – It turns out that: “our conscious explanations regarding our ideal romantic partner have very little connection to whom we really end up liking”.

Or the story of a firefighter who ‘felt’ something was wrong and told his co-workers to evacuate the building. The next minute the whole building collapsed. He couldn’t give any reason when he made that decision (thanks to system 1!) only to invent rational explanations for the decision later: he gave some weird description of the dynamics of the fire that wasn’t just right.

It seems the unconscious come to our aid when we don’t have luxury of time (and vice versa)

Also, our impressions are generated by our experiences and of course – social learning.

You are probably not a firefighter. If you assume the position of the firefighter above, how will you have fared? Probably, pretty bad. Why? Your unconscious wouldn’t be able to help, because your repository of experience as a firefighter is completely void.

So which is the best? I do think, for the most part, the ideal best-decison-maker-in-the-world will not exclude the intuitive judgement nor its rational counterpart. Afterall “It takes two to tango”

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