A lot of people set up logic and intuition as polar opposites of one another. It’s common to hear questions like “Which do you rely on more—logic or intuition?” In reality, though, the two are not so diametrically opposed as popular opinion paints them. That “gut instinct” of intuition is not magical or mystical; it has real, rational explanations for how it works, and the process often involves logic, whether or not you’re aware of it. Here are three good reasons to trust your intuition.
Your Subconscious Knows Things You Don’t
Studies show that about 20% of your thoughts occur in your conscious mind, leaving the vast majority within the subconscious. It is from this 80% that “intuition” originates. Even when you don’t know it’s happening, your brain is still collecting and processing data; it’s just that you’re not actively engaged in the process. Your subconscious is able to instantly compare your current situation to ones you've encountered in the past, then use that information to predict what could happen next. It's able to notice when something is “off”—whether you’re talking to a stranger or walking through a dark parking lot—and send signals to your body to alert you, whether these signals come in the form of adrenaline, fear, nausea, or something else. This is also why you can sometimes “feel” people staring at you: it’s not that a gaze is a tangible thing, but merely that you've subconsciously picked up on clues that you’re being watched.
Sometimes You Need Split-Second Reactions
You can’t always afford to take an hour or two to work through a problem. Emergencies happen and time can be precious. It makes more sense to listen to your instincts and act immediately than delay your response to a pressing problem, probably allowing it to worsen the longer you wait. It's natural to want to have everything figured out first, but sometimes you just need to trust that your subconscious knows what it's doing and can handle the situation. Moments of crisis are the perfect time to let instinct take over.
Humans Are Wired for Instinctive Responses
Millennia of evolving and adapting to our surroundings have left humans with a certain amount of built-in knowledge—think of it like the sum of human history inside your genetic makeup. The same processes that give most of us instinctive wariness of snakes and spiders also play a part in guiding the decisions we make on a daily basis. Of course, our intuition has yet to adapt to certain dilemmas in a rapidly modernizing world—but for the most part, it can often still answer questions of basic human needs, especially the cardinal evolutionary virtue of survival.
So, the moral of the story? Trust your instincts—and next time someone asks you if you make more decisions based on logic or on intuition, remember that “Both” is a perfectly reasonable reply.