Mental acuity

by Admin
Updated: August 7, 2020

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Mental acuity refers to the processes of dealing with sensory input. It can be considered as the speed & accuracy of instinct whereas intelligence relates to what is consciously done with that information. Mental acuity operates at a subconscious level but inputs can be vetoed by the conscious mind. When the automatic response is not desirable this is a good thing (think before you react), but when the automatic response is superior this can be self-defeating (over-thinking).

“Acuity” comes from the Latin acū- (sharp) and describes abilities such as quickness of perception and focus. Like most abilities it can be improved with practice but whether or not it’s useful depends on whether or not it’s allowed to work.

This comes down to self-trust/confidence vs second-guessing.

Example: Someone throws a ball for you to catch. Your ability to perceive and quickly identify that this is what’s happening kicks in immediately and is not vetoed (unless you’re having some kind of transcendental experience).

Most of us will allow the process to continue naturally and connect with our physical abilities so we can catch the ball. We don’t try to take measurements and solve ballistic equations in the process.

Making decisions

When it comes to making financial decisions, I’ve had gut feelings on many occasions that proved correct but I missed opportunities because I took too much time (hesitating or researching) or went against that initial feeling with a more “sensible” alternative.

But can we rely on instinct? The short answer is No. This is why we have the ability to interrupt it. Sometimes a knee-jerk reaction is not appropriate. This is especially true when we have insufficient or incorrect information.

On the other hand, when we do have good information and some experience, our initial reaction is often the right one and it comes into play instantly, without the need to double-check the details.

The answer then is to improve our skills with some training.

Training

Unfortunately, in modern society, we aren’t in the habit of taking note of our original feelings. This has come about as a result of the rapid introduction of new information combined with political correctness (don’t judge).

They are quickly forgotten so we cannot reliably refer back to them once our consciousness has become involved. Instead, we become confused and, surprisingly, almost always make the wrong choice.

The “Acuity” section of the website (linked in the footer) is devoted to apps/games/exercises designed to improve mental acuity and develop trust in your own perception and intuitive abilities.

The secret is timing & remembering.

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