The human brain is incredible.
I think we even underestimate its abilities. We look to computers and phones for answers to just about anything and that’s good, but we still have this incredible ability to find answers ourselves with just our brains.
Everyday we’re presented with choices. We have to make decisions. Some that will affect the short-term, but some that will affect the long-term. We do the best we can. Most of the time I would say we make the right decision or a decision that turns out fine.
You could call this intuition or maybe even your gut. And it’s good to trust your gut.
Why Trusting Your Gut Is Good
Since the moment we’re born we’re developing our gut. Both for immune system development and our abilities to make decisions.
Now that I think of it, it’s kind of weird and probably not coincidence that we call it “our gut” when referring to decision making. You would think that it’s all about the brain, but we’re learning more and more that our literal gut and brain and very much connected.
Anyway, when you’re a baby you’re busy looking for patterns. You sense people around you doing things like grabbing onto something and hearing them speak and you do the same. You’re looking for cause and effect. Grabbing is a way to get something you want. Talking is a way to communicate. Positive effects result from the right causes.
As we get older, though, some important decisions we feel like we need to do research. We need to look into them deeper.
Is that worthwhile? Yes. Obviously more information is good in almost all situations, but should you discount your gut?
After all, how much more research can you do on a situation when you’ve been spending your entire life gathering information to inform your gut so you can make decisions…
How To Know If your Gut Is Working
Let’s just say that your gut probably works right most of the time. The issue is that we often ignore it or discount it or get in our own way when it comes to making decisions.
And I think a big reason is that we don’t pay attention to the results.
For most of our childhood I think our guts work just fine when it comes to making decisions. We don’t have anything else to go on. We haven’t been too affected by input from others. We’re just making decisions and see what the consequences are and learning from them.
But as we age we start listening to others. People are always quick to give advice and sometimes we listen. Then we second guess ourselves and pretty soon we’re all messed up.
How do you know if you’re making the right decisions?
Look at the results.
For example, let’s say you go on a diet. Your gut tells you one thing and your friend tells you another. Because you’re an adult, you go with what your friend tells you.
And the friend could be right.
Just look at the results.
In three months, have you lost the weight you wanted to lose?
If not, go back and analyze the situation. See if you really listened to the friend or see if they steered you in the wrong direction. Maybe they had good intentions, but didn’t know what they were talking about. Maybe they’re not even in shape and were still giving you advice on losing weight.
Another interesting example is business. Business leaders often make decisions based on their gut feelings. They say something like, “I have to go with my gut on this one…” when it comes to an opportunity. And often they’re right.
Why is that so?
The Types Of Decisions Your Gut Is Best At
A big reason I think businesspeople go with their gut is because business decisions often succeed or fail because of the people. Good ideas are a dime a dozen. But it’s not always easy to find the right people to execute ideas.
The wrong people can screw up good ideas. The right people succeed with good ideas and often they’ll even succeed with bad ideas.
So what successful business people often are doing is just trusting what their gut has learned for an entire lifetime about judging people.
Think of all the people you’ve encountered since you were born. Thousands upon thousands. All different kinds. All acting certain ways. You’ve probably seen the things successful people do and the things unsuccessful people do. You’ve been building pattern recognition.
Your gut is the best at making decisions that it’s been preparing for your entire life.
When you’re faced with a decision think about how your gut has been preparing for this decision. See if it’s been able to compile a lot of data. You might be surprised at what your gut knows.
I was trying to think of an example of when your gut might not know the answer. I thought of buying a car. But then I thought that a person’s gut has probably seen a lot of cars in its life. Cars on the side of the road that have broken down. People’s reaction to seeing cars, driving cars, etc.
Maybe the gut can make a great car buying decision.
Your gut (and also your brain) have been collecting data your entire life. That’s the biggest reason why you should trust your gut for just about all decisions. Especially when people are involved. But if you’re wondering if you’re following your gut look to the results. If the results are turning out in positive correlation to your decisions then you’re following your gut. If your decisions result in negative outcomes then it’s time to look at what your gut is telling you because you’re probably not listening.