Using Your Gut To Make Up Your Mind

I have a couple big decisions to make in the next week or so.   I thought I should do something better than knocking on wood.

Therefore, I did a little Internet research. I “googled” the phrase “How to make a decision”.

Try it. You will learn a lot.

In summary, I was surprised what I gathered. I developed an understanding that, when making decisions, you have to be true to yourself.

Decisions can be made quickly and under pressure when this concept is applied. A couple key questions to help a person decide if a path is for them are the following:

If I do x, will it allow me to more so be who I want to be, or not?

 For each alternative you’re considering, ask yourself, “Is this really me?”

The process recommended in my Internet study is more intuitive than rational. As a result, it will probably drive others crazy and result in criticism.

Criticism can be easily dealt with though. If it is not informed or valid, then ignore it. Blow it off.

If the criticism is valid, then another strategy can be employed. One should go to experts on the subject to confirm or refute it.

What is surprising about my research  to me is that there is something to be said about using your gut. Gut feelings are valid.

There truly is a God-given connection between the body and mind. One of my sources asked me to determine how I felt when I was doing something I hated and when I was doing something I loved.

When I thought of watching American football, something I truly enjoy, I felt excited and visually stimulated. When I thought of something I don’t enjoy (which I won’t mention here), I felt frustrated and the part of my body I focused on was my chest.

The intuitive approach doesn’t discount the idea of the traditional idea of weighing pros and cons, an approach favored by Benjamin Franklin. What is required in this instance is envisaging living under the decision made as a result of this technique.

In addition, using your gut doesn’t contradict gathering data. When the answer to the question of “will this allow me to be what I want to be?” or “is this me?” is “I don’t know”, then waiting for more information is a good response.

One interesting finding is that vacillation is not a good idea in decision making. We can never accurately predict the consequences of our decisions, as we don’t know the future. 

Deciding on a course of action is a good strategy. It’s good to remember when not sure that doing nothing is a form of choosing. But, we really can never be absolutely sure of the results of our decisions.

“Because it feels right” is fitting with some decision. As best as possible, decisions should be made without too much emotion involved, and they should never be made on a whim.

Of course, ambivalence, defined as simultaneous attraction or repulsion to a person, place, thing or action (sometimes called “mixed emotions) comes into play in decisions. David A. Reinstein, LCSW notes that ambivalence slows down the decisionmaking process.

This is why, he says, “fundamentalists” make quicker decisions. Simplicity allows for this. When you rule out a lot of things that don’t fit your paradigm, the decision becomes less complicated.

I guess John Sebastian must have had a difficult time making a decision when he was young. In his case, it seems it involved a choice of which girl to pursue. Enjoy his lyrics!

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