Do you listen to your gut instinct?
I hypothesize that too many people I know ignore their gut instinct too often and suffer as a result.
Your gut instinct is a very powerful tool that can help guide you in everyday decision-making. Listening to your gut instinct is an important skill that you can train yourself to improve in. If you used data and logical reasoning in order to make every decision in your life no matter how small it is, e.g. choosing what to wear in the morning or what to buy at the grocery store, then you would quickly get bogged down in decision paralysis. Simple tasks would become drawn-out mental battles of drudgery.
So why is it that so many people ignore their gut instinct?
They have been led to believe that more often than not, their gut instinct is wrong. It’s untrustworthy. There’s a high risk involved with depending on gut instinct to guide your life. It’s better to rely on logical reasoning and analytical thinking.
So they turn off the part of the mind that responds to their gut instinct.
And that’s where things start to go wrong.
By turning off their response mechanism, they let it get rusty. They rely on logical reasoning and analytical thinking that drains their energy and capacity for making quick decisions. They forget how their response mechanism works. So if their gut instinct does somehow trigger a response, they are unaccostomed to it and do not know how to respond.
I am a firm believer in using logical reasoning and analytical thinking where it makes sense: medium-to-large-scale decisions that require rational judgement such as what house or car to purchase or what job to seek out.
But even in a job search, you might get caught in a mental battle between the job that is more safe, gives great pay, but is not in line with your passions and the job that is risky, has less pay, but resonates with your passion and grand vision. Many people would choose to go with the former job even if their gut instinct is telling them to do the opposite.
I believe that by not trusting their gut instinct in this case, they are causing themselves serious unhappiness.
So gut instinct also has a role to play in the big decisions we make in life. No matter how good we are at ignoring our gut instinct, it will resurface at the times we make the most critical decisions and it will be very difficult to decide how to respond to it.
That is why it is ultimately beneficial to keep on listening to your gut instinct and keep your mind open to taking risks based on your gut instinct. Eventually, you will come to understand exactly when to trust your gut instinct and when not to. Like anything, your response mechanism improves with practice. But if you ignore your gut instinct up to the point when you’re faced with a critical decision and can no longer do so anymore, then you will be woefully unprepared to make that judgement call.