Calibrating your intuition

Every decision we make is informed by our intuition, whether we like it or not. But how reliable is our intuition as an instrument?

I recently ran the same distance twice while measuring my speed, once with earphones that told me my running speed every kilometer, and once without these updates. During both runs, I felt as though I was going fast and pushing hard. But when I looked at the measured speeds, I had clocked 9.64 km/hr without periodic updates, and 12.07 km/hr with a voice telling me how fast I was going. My intuition, in both cases, told me that I was doing well. But the mere act of having immediate feedback improved my performance by 25%.

Our intuition is a versatile, but unreliable instrument that requires constant calibration – one that keeps us within our comfort zone but gives us the illusion that we are pushing ahead. 


2 thoughts on “Calibrating your intuition

  1. But this write up sounds like the run actually took more time when the audio was providing feedback.

    Also on day 1 vs day 2 did you make a note of the constant factors vs variable factors??

    Like wind speed, rest, shoes, terrain etc?


    1. Thank you! Those are good questions.

      I mentioned speed in km/hr rather than min/km. Probably hence the confusion.

      On Day 1 vs. Day 2, I was equally well rested and used the same gear. The route was the same as well. I hadn’t measured wind speed, but it is a circular track, so the effect tends to even out. Besides, the effect of wind speed is probably negligible compared to the difference I measured.


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