Making a decision is especially hard when you’re confronted with two promising options before you. Giving up one is hard as much as giving up the other. If you could only have both. But no, you only have to choose one.
In making such decision, you might consider the benefits each could give you. Consequently, you’ll go for the one that promises a lot.
However, some opportunities are presented to you for reasons you don’t know. It’s this thing that you just can’t let go no matter how illogical your decision might appear. In this case, your gut feeling might have come into the picture.
The gut feeling, which experts refer to as intuition, is the ability to understand something instinctively, without the need for conscious reasoning.
But actually, intuition is an unconscious reasoning rooted in the way our brains collect, store, synthesize, and recall information. Because this is an entirely subconscious process, we have difficulty accepting this feeling.
The other thing is, we sometimes confuse intuition with fear in our gut, making us avoid certain things believing they’re dangerous for us. To know when to trust your gut, here are three ways to do it.
Things To Consider Before Trusting Your Gut:
Evaluate your thoughts.
Since intuition is a highly subconscious process, when you understand how you think and process information, you’re building confidence in your internal reasoning process.
You assimilate information constantly using inductive and deductive reasoning. Shift this process by bringing into consciousness what seems to be your background thoughts. Evaluate your thoughts by the following:
– Observing your own thoughts. Ask what’s causing you to think a certain way, look for the beliefs that formed your thoughts, or the pressures that support your assumptions to be true.
– Practicing the beginner’s mind. The “beginner’s mind”, which originated in Zen Buddhism, encourages you to adopt a fresh perspective when looking at things. By having an open mind, you’re able to see the possibilities without having a personal bias.
– Playing the devil’s advocate. For each option, find reasonable, logical, and legitimate reasons why you should choose the other option. Make a list of the pros and cons for each decision, then see how your reasonable deduction matches with your gut feeling.
Distinguish fear from intuition.
Tell whether what you’re feeling is intuition or plain fear by considering the following:
– Fear is highly emotional. A deluge of emotions charged your fears. These include worries about the future, wounds from the past, anxiety, and others that can make you feel heavy or dark.
– Intuition is emotionally neutral. Intuition is neutral and not governed by either positive or negative emotions. It’s more logical and focuses more on the present and not of what happened in the past.
With intuition you feel a bit calm. To determine if your gut feeling is fear, make a list of everything that scares you. By this, it’s easier for you to recognize when your gut feeling is triggered by fear or by logical thinking.
Get a second opinion if it’s based on fear and go for your gut when it’s not.
Trust Your Instincts.
Our instincts are the primal urges and alarms that help keep us alive. Using these instincts are necessary when our safety and wellbeing are at stake, as in the case of putting our trust in an individual.
Most often, our gut feeling instantly notifies us when someone is bad news. Ignoring the internal warnings could be costly or even fatal.
As explained in Gavin de Becker’s book The Gift of Fear, our primal fight or flight instincts work as a response to a “feeling” that is actually the result of hundreds of quick calculations done subconsciously that register as a physical response. We suddenly feel afraid or uneasy.
In the absence of a logical explanation for fear, not tied to past, present event, or an emotional scar, trusting your gut is an absolute must.
With this type of fear comes the pounding of your heart or a churning in your stomach. Your brain has done the calculations that tell something about the situation is wrong.
Becker said that 85% of the time our calculations are accurate. The other 15% doesn’t mean the calculation is wrong, it’s only slightly askew.
Your gut works for you. Follow what it tells after you’ve come to know how your thought processes work, after you have a clear distinction between your intuition and your own internal fears, and after you have learn to trust your primal fight or flight instincts without dismissing its warnings.