Trusting Your Gut

On July 2, 2017, in Monday Motivator, The Pass It On Podcast, by Scott Westerman

By Scott Westerman
Listen to an audio version of this message.

Have you ever had one of those nagging feelings that something just wasn’t right? Our subconscious has spent a lifetime filing and cataloging experience and perception. It can be a natural early warning system that’s worth listening to.

Dr. Susan Biali, who contributes to Psychology Today says that our first reactions are often prescient. “Be careful about glossing it over if it doesn’t make sense.”

Professional development coach, Hana Ayoub told Fast Company that your gut, “holds insights that aren’t immediately available to your conscious mind right now, but they’re all things that you’ve learned and felt. In the moment, we might not be readily able to access specific information, but our gut has it at the ready.”

Dr. Herbert Simon calls this “chunking”. Our mind stores knowledge in chunks. Over time, they are catalogued and pop up when we need them most, even though we may sometimes not know why.

Geil Browning, writing in Inc Magazine says that this kind of intuition can be sharpened. “It’s all about giving our brain more emotional information to work with through life experience to increase the probability of success for any given gut decision. Basically, the more we experience the more accurate our guts become.”

Remember when your parents told you to respect the advice of your elders. This is why that is often wise counsel.

In my experience, my best decisions have come from a combination of objective and subjective consideration. The process I use involves gathering all the objective information and feedback I can find and digesting it.  Then, I close my eyes and listen to what my heart is telling me to do. As M. Scott Peck writes in his classic, The Road Less Travelled, “If you suffer fully, you will make the right decision, although you may not know it at the time.”

But there isn’t always time for careful reflection. Life is fired at us point blank and we are sometimes forced to make decisions without the benefit of time for thought. This is where gut instinct is often most powerful.

Over time, you can learn the difference between the radar-like wisdom of intuition and the unrealistic fears that often block us from reaching beyond our self-imposed limitations. Taking calculated risks is a requirement for personal growth. The challenge is figuring out which voice is talking to you; your higher self or the dinosaur brain of irrational resistance.

“Listening to your instincts takes courage and practice,” Dr. Biali concludes. “After all, until you start paying attention to and acting on your instincts, you won’t have the opportunity to verify how accurate they are. In some cases, you may never find out what disaster it is that you averted.”

So the next time that little voice in your head is talking to you, it might make sense to listen.


Comments are closed.