Decisions decisions decisions
Easy, difficult, challenging, life changing, scary, reckless, right, wrong DECISIONS.
I always ask the people around me about what would they like a little guidance on when it comes to writing these blogs. And the theme of “Am I on the right path? How do I know I am making the right decision” just kept on coming up. Fine. Decision made ; )
But then came the research part. And I found that the vast majority of Coaches, Mentors, Spiritual speakers and Leadership gurus were saying the same thing. Listen to your intuition, inner voice, gut, and trust it.
That can’t be an answer?! Just do what you feel is right?! Really it’s as easy as that?!
I wasn’t convinced. So I went down the science route. Looking at what Decision analysts, Behavioral economists and Psychologists are saying about the decision making process. And what they are saying contradicts the “listen to your inner voice” approach as their experiments showed that humans who made decisions based on gut feelings more often than not, make the wrong choice.
So can we trust our intuition? Can our intuition help us know if we are on the right path?
In the blue corner we have a champion for making decisions by listening to our gut. In her TED Talk, Coach Jo Simpson outlines the importance of listening to in her words, the “nudge”. And how we need to trust our intuition, gut, inner voice because if we don’t that “voice” or feeling of I’m missing something won’t go away. And more importantly that when we do listen and act on that “nudge” things suddenly come up to show that we are on the right path and that the correct decision was made.
And in the red corner we have champions against making decisions by listening to our gut. Psychologists/economists Danny Kahneman and Amos Tversky in Michael Lewis’ book “The Undoing Project” prove that humans so often make mistakes or miss things when they just rely on their gut feeling to make a decision. And that we make mistakes by focusing on the wrong area or not questioning the questions. As Kahneman explains, “How do you understand memory? You don’t study memory. You study forgetting.”
Now, this is all very interesting but how does this help you know if you’re on the right path. Or you are making the right decisions. Well, in my mind we need to listen and question both our brain and our gut. And this is the most important part, act on those decisions.
We can listen to our inner voice and feel our reactions and assess the possible consequences of decision A or B or C. But at some point you just have to do; and make that decision.
We’re human. And we learn through trial and error. We learnt to not touch the hot flame, by touching the flame and recognizing that we weren’t too keen on the outcome of that experiment. We decide by doing things, if they are fun, painful, useful and if our effort and input into that action is worth the result and perceived outcome. And that’s what a decision is.
A decision is not just the initial decision. It is the initial decision to act AND then the thinking and feeling for confirmation as to whether or not we want to keep acting on the decision that was made.
So, if you’re asking yourself how do you know you are on the right path or not. Use both head and gut as your barometer. Respect the discomfort and explore the possible outcomes of your decisions. And then decide and most importantly do.
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