We have a tendency not to notice that our emphasis on numbers and logic leaves out a crucial part of the thinking processes we actually engage in to make decisions. In order to make the best decisions – and to perform at our highest levels – we need to get logical about the gap between where the numbers leave off and results pour in.

This gap contains many dimensions of what I can politely call “qualitative” data. It holds fragments of pattern recognition for example. These pull together to impart some sketch of the context of whatever uncertainty is presenting itself. A majority of the gap contains a “quantity” of the elements that lie on the spectrum of confidence to fear (or overconfidence to panic in some cases). Going a step deeper, this context of feelings – or the fC – contains a pattern, that is a multi-fractal representation of our basic world view, self-perception, expectations and beliefs.

Thinking at our highest levels – and therefore setting up our greatest successes – demands that we get systematic about understanding the gap at the end of the numbers – the messy, “qualitative”, feelings-context that we bring to all of our perceptions. It can be done.

The latest research shows that the long held “neuron doctrine” (neurons and synapses wire up and fire like a network) only tells a very very small part of the picture. Glia cells make up 85% of the brain, were present in Einstein’s brain at a proportion of 4x and do their work by broadcasting across the entire brain. It makes sense that the qualitative contexts of decisions and performance would be mediated therefore by this completely ignored (until very recently) part of the brain.

David Brooks as recently written about The Social Brain and R. Douglas Fields The Other Brain – both are good primers to understanding where the next leap in intelligence needs to come from – the gap at the end of the facts.