If you have a problem to solve you should think about it right? Not necessarily.The conscious human mind has a very limited processing capacity. The traditional solution to this problem is to limit incoming information to only the most relevant data. It is also conventional wisdom that the longer you think about something the better your response. However, a recent experiment found quite the opposite. The more that people thought about something the more inclined they were to assemble irrelevant information and the less accurate their predictions became as a result. The implication is obviously that we should think about things less, either meaning that we should rely more on instant feelings and intuition or else defer to our unconscious mind. In other words sleep on it.
The power of intuition is of course nothing new. The question here though is whether extensive unconscious thought can make our intuition more reliable. It’s still early days (and nights) but the initial research seems to be saying yes. So what’s the takeaway here? Simply that we should use our conscious mind to collect data but then not think about it. We should allow our unconscious mind to digest the information and then follow our gut feeling.