As they say, hindsight is twenty-twenty. Life would be so much less complicated and less stressful if we could see the results before they happened. When things don’t turn out the way we planned, we often blame the fact that we were short of the facts, that we should have researched things better or should have taken more expert advise. Should have, would have, could have. We tend to look outwards for the answers.
When we are faced with a very important life-changing decision or even just a run-of-the-mill everyday decision we often base our decision on rational thinking by using cold hard facts and intel. This is a good practise to adopt and should never be discarded. However we do have other resources at our disposal that are often forgotten. How often do you include your gut feeling or emotional mind into your decision making calculator?
I am sure you’ve heard people or even yourself say “I had a feeling that it was the wrong decision” or “I knew I should have chosen the other option!” It’s a funny thing, we place huge importance and rely so much on external expertise or solid facts to help us in our decision making, that we so often ignore or doubt our own instincts of how we feel about the decision.
Consider the following research and learnings from Daniel Goleman:
“Lower in the brain, below the limbic areas, lies a neural network called the basal ganglia. This is a very primitive part of the brain, but it does something extraordinarily important for navigating the modern world.” (The Brain and Emotional Intelligence, 2011)
“The basal ganglia extracts decision rules: when I did that, that worked well; when I said this, it bombed. Our accumulated life wisdom is stored in this primitive circuitry. However, it turns out also to have very rich connections to the gastrointestinal tract – the gut. So in making the decision, a gut sense of it being right or wrong is important information, too. It’s not that you should ignore the data, but if it doesn’t fit what you’re feeling, maybe you should think twice about it.”
The next time you have that heavy feeling in the pit of your stomach, don’t brush it off as a physical ailment. Stop, think and listen to what your gut is telling you. Consider your feelings about the upcoming decision at the same level of importance as the expert advise and research facts you have gathered. By creating a happy balance between your instincts and the facts you might be pleasantly surprise. If not, you will always only have hindsight.