I have always had a sense that my gut is smarter than I think. In fact I have lived my life trusting my decision to my gut more often than not.
I was watching a video from Derek Sivers were he talks about this exact point. (See below for a link to the video)
In the video he describes how in our brain our prefrontal cortex is the area which process everything, meaning it does calculations, manages languages, logic and predictions. Imagine this is the computer processor of your brain.
With time these processes are stored like programs in your amygdala. Yes this is the same part of the brain where you get that fight or flight reaction.
But the way he explains it (which I totally agree with) as situations are processed in your prefrontal cortex these are then saved as feelings in your amygdala for future quick reaction use. Imaging all your life knowledge is saved and is ready for use.
Let say you are in the middle of a tough decision and you are forcing everything to be processed through your prefrontal cortex, your are thinking and thinking about the pros’s the con’s etc. But at the same time your stomach or gut is giving you this awkward feeling that something is not right. Well in those moments you should trust that feeling as this is your brain or body’s way of telling you “maybe you should not buy that or invest in that or you should pick this path instead”.
Remember the amygdala is giving you an instant alarm in the way of feelings as to what is the best path for the particular problem you are facing.
As with everything their is always a balance, trust your gut but also it’s always important to put some logic in to your decisions. Although there is some instances were it’s best to follow your gut as explained by Malcom Gladwell in his book, Blink, the power of thinking with out thinking. he suggest to follow your intuition if :
- Something you specialize in. According to most psychologists, intuition is learned expertise in concealment. For example, if you have been a doctor for more than a decade, it is safe to say that you can go with your gut feeling about a certain sickness. After all, diagnosing and treating patients are what you have been doing for most of your life.
- A need for a special opinion. If you have asked for advice from a certain person – and you are not quite convinced with what he just said, then maybe it is time that you sought the help of another individual – perhaps one with more years or expertise than him.
- A big-money investment. Whether it is a car or a home, it is best if you went with your intuition. Studies show that those who purchased expensive items with the use of their gut feeling ended up happier than those who went with critical deliberation alone.
I invite everyone to watch Derek’s video there is a lot more information about life that is worth watching.