Decision Making

by Ian Moore

Intuitive decision making

Trust your gut.

Barbara Walters

The human brain can process huge amounts of information unconsciously, without this ever rising into consciousness. This is why intuitive decision making can be extremely powerful and should not be underestimated.

The problem with intuitive decision making is that it can seldom be quantified and so analysed. In groups, ‘group think’ can be extremely pervasive and a group’s intuitive decision making should be taken with extreme caution. Also, intuitive decision making can just be plain wrong! In many situations, the human brain is very poor at spotting ‘differences’, while, in contrast, being much better at spotting ‘similarities’. For this reason, if something has always happened a certain way in the past, we are much more likely to assume it will happen the same way again, which may well not be the case because we have not noticed what has changed.

So should we use intuitive decision making or not? It can be very powerful in some cases and totally incorrect in others. There is no easy answer. For more information on intuitive decision making, read Blink by Malcolm Gladwell (see Want to know more?).

People have different ways of accessing their intuition and ‘knowing’ when they have made a good decision. On a personal level, there may be a number of factors involved, possibly just outside your awareness, that let you know when a decision is right for you. Think about a time where you made a decision that you were happy with. With that decision in mind, consider the following summary statements and notice which resonates with you or makes sense:

  • You felt good about the decision and just knew it was the right thing
  • The decision made sense and it just seemed like the logical choice or sensible thing to do; it ticked all the boxes or you were happy that you could dot the ‘I’s and cross the ‘T’s
  • You looked at all the options; you could see how it would work or you considered the various perspectives and it appeared to be the best option
  • You spoke to some people, had discussion around the various options, and this sounded like a good approach.

Knowing which of the above works for you will help you evaluate whether your intuitive decision making is working well, or whether you have not really nailed the decision down just yet.

You can also think of times in the past when, in hindsight, you made a bad decision and notice how that seemed to you. If you get the same feeling again, it could mean that your intuitive decision making is off track.


Flip a coin. As it is in the air, ask yourself which way up you hope it will land. Let the coin fall to the floor and don’t look at it. You have your answer!

If you get nothing while the coin is in the air, catch it and look at it. Does the answer the coin gives you fill you with relief or dread? You now have a direct communication from your intuitive self and, with that, you have your answer. The coin is just a trigger to get you in touch with your intuition.

Practise this until you no longer need the coin.