When making a decision, do you go with your gut? Many people confuse gut feelings with ‘intuition’, when in fact they’re two different things.
Gut feelings come easily and naturally – they’re your body’s pre-programmed response to stimuli that you’ve encountered before. Candace Pert’s book ‘Molecules of Emotion’ explains how our body chemistry works to give us habitual emotional responses that may or may not be helpful to us. Generally speaking, if you make a decision in the grip of a strong emotion, it’s likely to be a bad one. Gut feelings lead you to repeat history, keeping things the same.
Intuition, on the other hand, is emotionally neutral. It’s a skill that can be learned and honed, and it comes from clearing our minds of personal reactions and allowing an inner voice to speak to us. In ‘Stop Thinking, Start Living’, Richard Carlson calls this our ‘healthy functioning’. In ‘Anatomy of the Spirit’, Caroline Myss calls it the ‘impersonal mind’. Intuition is a special wisdom that comes from a still, calm place within. It nudges us towards fulfilment and happiness.
For those who aren’t sure how to achieve this, Suzy Welch describes a simple decision-making method in her book, ’10-10-10′. The idea is to consider how the decision will affect you after 10 minutes, 10 months and 10 years, taking into account your values and how you’d feel about the outcomes.
Recently my intuition was telling me to get out of my comfort zone. I needed to do something scary, like a bungy jump. Of course my gut reaction was: no way! I used the 10-10-10 process, which confirmed that although the first 10 minutes would be terrifying, the longer term result would be good for me.
So yes – I did it, and haven’t looked back.