Following Your Gut Instincts
Making decisions can be tough — not only for the very difficult decisions, but also for the easy ones. Sometimes, people can make life-changing choices in a few moments but then spend a very long time deciding what to eat for supper or what kind of chocolate to buy. They might weigh their options carefully or go with their first instincts. How do you make your decisions? Different decisions demand different levels of thought and planning, but your gut instincts might be very good for guiding you into the best choice for your future.
Trusting your instincts might seem like a very doubtful way of making life-changing choices. If you’re like most people, you’ve probably bought things and then later regretted your purchase or said things you later wished you could take back. Not every impulse at every moment of the day is trustworthy, partly because so many factors can affect thinking. People who are under a lot of stress from work, school, or family can make bad decisions that affect them for the rest of their lives, for example. Similarly, people who usually have very strong opinions might tend to make quicker, if not always better, decisions than people who try to look at issues from all sides. What kind of person are you? Knowing your personality can help you know how much to trust your instincts in decision-making.
Gut instincts might not always be right, but they are still important because they tell you about your values and preferences. If you love composing stories, for example, you might want to consider some kind of writing as a career, even if the life of a novelist is not for you. If you dislike a lot of noise, you might want to stay away from a career with young children. If you have a strong instinct to help people in need, you might want to consider a career in social work or in writing about social issues and urging the government to respond. You can learn to understand and interpret your instincts to help you make good decisions for your future.
How can you learn to use your instincts to your best advantage? You need to learn more about yourself and about what keeps you from making good decisions, and you need to know when you can trust your first impulse. Practice is an important factor in following your instincts. When people have worked a long time in their field, they often find that their first instincts are right because they are based on experience. Learning to work with your instincts will tell you when you can trust them.
The best kind of decision-making is a combination of factors, including analysis, experience, and a natural sense of what might work best. With practice, you can find ways to use all of these different factors to arrive at the best possible decisions for your situation. You won’t always be right, but if you learn how to appreciate your instincts, you can follow them throughout your life.