Decision making: logic versus our gut feeling
Hello everyone, welcome to today’s blog post. We are really happy you are here. I want to start off today’s post by saying, the wisdom contained here comes from years of trail and error. But also, sometimes this wisdom escapes me. Therefore I wanted to post it to keep it with me. I would love to hear your thoughts on this, if you feel inclined please leave a comment below.
Considering our opinion versus another person’s reaction
Today’s topic, as indicated by the title is all about decision making. In the post about the mind/body connection I briefly talked about this, but let’s explore further. At some point in life, it comes time for us to make a decision. Perhaps we are at a crossroads and the next step determines the next few years of our future. Or maybe it is a more simple decision and there just happens to be many choices. When self doubt creeps in, we tend to have trouble making even simple decisions (dinner selection anyone?!).
In my experience, this all comes down to all facts to consider plus how we feel about those facts. Meaning, if we are having trouble deciding what to eat, it could be that we want to eat healthy but don’t have the energy to prepare a clean meal. Or we are SO hungry, we need to eat NOW and that makes the choice harder. Decision making can feel cumbersome when we aren’t feeling sure of ourselves.
As many people do, I sometimes find myself making decisions based on what I want other people to think about me; instead of what I think of me. Said another way, sometimes my decisions are based off another person’s perception, advice or simply me hoping they will accept me more. Have you ever found yourself making a decision and weighing the reaction of others more heavily than your own gut feeling? Or maybe even letting the facts and logic out weigh the feeling in your heart.
Here is an example:
I once new a person who had the opportunity to go to an Ivy League University. They came to me for advice, trying to make the final decision. This individual also had been accepted into their dream college, and many others. In discussion they told me that they didn’t really actually want to attend the Ivy League. They applied just to see if they would be accepted. Upon their surprise, they were!
Once this news came in, they felt a heavy burden that they would HAVE to go to that school…, “Because who on earth would pass up that opportunity?!” Deep down, however they really wanted to go to their dream college. In discussion with me, I asked some key questions about each potential college. The questions included the more foundational and basic information about finances and distance from their home. Where they would live and what they would study. In addition, I asked about networking, and their future career after college.
While asking these questions, I knew that whilst the answers were important; the most important thing was how the individual was feeling about their choice. If they went to the Ivy League just because it was the logical ‘right’ thing to do, they might be unhappy. While if they went to their dream college because it was their whimsical choice, they may feel they missed out on a huge opportunity.
Before we conclude the story, what would you have done in this instance?
How does this apply, generally?
When making any decision, the moment we feel that little pull away from our original instinct, we sometimes start to overthink or spiral. Knowing that, all the logical and ‘right’ answers in the world wouldn’t be able to truly answer the question. Pro’s and con’s list are helpful, but at the end of the day, our inner gut ‘knows’ the path WE want to take. Sometimes all the pro’s and con’s list do is create a situation of overthinking.
In addition, there can be SO many variables which go into decisions, it sometimes could literally be impossible to consider everything at once. Not to mention the unknowns which a person may not have enough time to research all the answers for.
That leads us to often having to make decisions without a complete set of information. All the while, our inner self, our heart, or our gut – however you see this ‘feeling’ – knows the answer. In the past, the advice to flip a coin to determine how you feel. If you assign an answer to each side, and the side you DON’T want comes up: you will feel disappointed. While if the side you DO want comes up, a sense of excitement comes over you.
Making the decision
To make the decision, I would recommend determining how you truly feel about the situation; either with the coin toss or similar exercise. Afterward, gather all the facts you truly need, keeping in priority order and then DECIDE. Give yourself a timeboxed date in which to make the decision. After you do, you will either feel dread and know you need to change it. Or you will begin to get super excited!
This also ties in on how to gain self-respect, which will be discussed in a future post. I also recommend making mini- decisions all day long to build your trust up for yourself. For example, if you’ve decided on a time to get out of bed in the morning: DECIDE not to sleep in. Or, if you’ve decided to do 5 minutes of stretching everyday, DO 5 minutes of stretching. These little mini-decisions will help to build up your self-trust and self-reliability. On the other hand, if you have told yourself NOT to spend time with a person or group because you know it isn’t a good idea. DON’T hang out with them, even if you feel lonely or want the company.
This may seem counter intuitive in some instances, however I see it as developing conviction and self-respect, which untimely leads to living a life YOU love. The last tidbit I’ll leave you with, is to make decisions in advance. So, if it is about dinner, select your meal before you get to the restaurant. Making the decision in advance, makes decision time much much less stressful!
Let me know if you start to make these mini-decisions for yourself. Soon enough, you should start feeling more sure of yourself! Remember: you want to have that ‘yay I can’t wait feeling‘ more than that ‘crap why did I make that decision feeling!’