The starting point of all achievement is desire.
The Downsides of Intuition
Normally I would say to go with your gut. In most cases this is a good idea. Your subconscious is extremely powerful and does things which you aren’t aware of. This is what produces your ‘gut’ feeling. One example of this power is body language. You can read everything on body language but you will not be able to discern micro expressions. These expressions are so small and miniscule you would have to spend decades studying body language to really pick them up. They are a quick wrinkle in your face or maybe a quick change of pitch in a voice. Your subconscious picks these things up without your even knowing.
However your subconscious still makes mistakes which is what I will talk about here. There is a popular saying that goes don’t judge a book by its cover. There is some truth to this. Sometimes surface level things can deceive even your subconscious. When should you not trust that gut feeling? When does it fail you?
Our Subconscious Looks For Meanings Instead of Facts
One way intuition fails you is your memory. How accurate do you think your memory is? How accurately do you remember your first day of school? Your first crush? Your first date? How accurately do you remember what happened last week? Yesterday?
In a study was done which showed that about 69% of people believe that memories cannot be changed and that they accurately record reality. Unfortunately this is false. In fact, our memories actually store more information than it needs to.
In another study students read 15 related words such as “drowsy”, “tired”, “slumber” and only ten minutes later they were asked to recall them. Surprisingly, most participants reported the word sleep to be on the list despite the fact that it wasn’t.
Our brains are smart – Maybe too smart. Instead of recording a sequence of words our silly brain records the meaning of patterns instead of the actually words themselves. Therefore, if you list a bunch of words all related to sleep people will unconsciously insert the word sleep into the list of words without even realizing it.
This is how our memories fail us. If something happened to us in the past we may think we remember everything that happened but what we don’t know is that if we don’t remember a part of an event our brain will fill in the gap. So if similar events happened like A then B then D happened. Your brain will make up C in order to complete the sequence.
We See Non-existent Correlations
There is no scientific evidence which backs up the claim that violent video games lead to violence, or sexual movies leads to horny teenagers. So why do we believe this? Much like how our brain looks for patterns in our memory our brain also looks for correlations where none exist.
This may be the reason we have déjà vu. When we experience an event similar to something that happened in the past our brain thinks we have been there before so it falsely finds a pattern and already fills in the future for us. Thus, we get the feeling that we know what’s going to happen next and that we have been in this exact situation before.
We do this as a way of making sense of the world. When two things happen we often find a way to relate them to each other. There is a popular conundrum that high drowning rates happen to occur around the same time as high ice cream sales occur. Does this mean that buying ice cream causes people to drown? Unless these people are inhaling ice cream – The answer is no.
This glitch in our brain causes a lot of problems in our society. Mainly social problems that we perceive to be problems simply based on correlations. Not to make the comment section into a huge debate but the common correlation of there are no women in the workforce because men are sexist is not sufficient evidence of sexism. Unless you support the argument with evidence that men are sexist; you cannot come to the conclusion that men are sexist because of the lack of women in the workforce based on that evidence alone.
There are also more men in prison than women. Does this mean that prisons are sexist towards women also? No, it just means that statistically speaking men commit more crimes than women. Just to go down another rabbit hole – Even men committing crimes correlating to a lot of men in prisons is another correlation. Just because there are a lot of men in prisons does not necessarily mean more men commit more crimes than women. It can also be the fact that people tend to sympathize a lot more with women than men. I know that claim is probably a stretch but I just wanted to make that extra point.
So when you are drawing conclusions in your brain always try to think if there really is a correlation or are you just trying to make reality into what it is not. If you are able to find multiple correlations or some other concrete evidence you can draw logical conclusions. Do men really commit more crimes than women? Yeah, probably. Based on the statistic that there are more men in prison and based on the fact that men are naturally more aggressive than women I feel we can draw that conclusion.
How Confidence Deceives Us
In a national survey 69% of Americans believe they are more intelligent than the average person. So at least 19% of these people are dead wrong and another point is that we generally believe we are better than everyone else. Chess players were also interviewed at a chess tournament and yet the majority of them thought they were underrated by at least 100 points. It seems like the lower the rank the more people tend to overestimate their skills.
We like to think we have some kind of unlocked potential hidden in us. How about this myth (Yes this is definitely a myth) – We only use 10% of our brain. If this were true the other 90% of unused brain tissue would just die off. We like to perpetuate these myths because it’s nice to believe that if only you were using 100% of your brain you would be able to send a man to Mars, ace all your math tests and cure cancer.
So don’t get too upset when you don’t get that 100 on your Calculus test like you expected. You are perfect but that teacher just doesn’t know it!
Learn anything new? Have you noticed any of these little tricks that your brain pulls on you? I would really like to know. Let me know in the comments below!
Have a great day!