Posts tagged: Gut instinct

Instant Insight: Let the rules follow you

Breaking the rules is generally frowned upon. And in plenty of instances, it’s understandable. But what about the rules we set for ourselves? Do the things we promised we’d never do (or always do) apply to every situation? What about our beliefs?

The truth is that in order to be capable of change and growth sometimes we have take our preconceived notions and make a conscious effort to smash them to bits. We do this by listening carefully to our instincts and by asking good questions.

With that inspiration in mind, we offer this week’s Instant
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Why don’t I take my own advice?

Why don't I take my own advice

Giving advice can be easy.

— If it’s really bothering you, just talk to him about it.
— You should make sure to negotiate your salary.
— Definitely get a second opinion.

So why don’t we listen to our own words of wisdom?

— My situation’s more complicated, we think.
— I don’t want to give the wrong impression, we reason.
— I don’t have the time, we explain.

Beneath all this rationalizing is a fear of some sort, and it blocks us from embracing what we know, in our gut, to be the right path forward.

Here are 5 ways to take your own best
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7 simple ways to reflect

Reflecting is really an honest way of listening to ourselves. By letting go of concerns, rules, and desires, we surface unfettered emotion. And with that emotion come the thoughts that can guide our decisions. Here are seven ways to put yourself in a reflective state of
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What to do when you can’t decide

three faces of indecision

In the days after the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center, many of us focused on what was missing. The New York City skyline felt bare. The world felt altered. And, in the quiet Brooklyn neighborhood of Prospect Heights, an out-of-work actor named Delissa Reynolds sought comfort in the ways she knew best — food, friends, a sense of belonging.

“It was a very tender time,” says Delissa. “People in the neighborhood really drew in together. We’d have weekend gatherings, usually at my house, where anyone could come to hang out, sometimes just over rice and beans.”

These “Sunday dinners” helped transform the experience of loss into a celebration of togetherness. And, for Delissa, they became the spark for Bar Sepia, a pioneering neighborhood bar and restaurant she’d open three years later. Next month, her dream project turns 11 — a milestone unimaginable back in those “tender”
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Making a wrong decision can be good for you

Sometimes when we’re acting like Wafflers, it’s because we aren’t using our gut instinct to help us make a choice (see “How to use your gut instinct to make a decision”). Other times, it’s because we don’t trust our instinct. We’re afraid of making the wrong choice. Of not being perfect. Of failing. So we put it off.

Ironically, not deciding is a form of failure. In addition to giving up our right to decide, whether tiny (Should I order the fish or the beef?) or monumental (Should I relocate my family?), we miss the opportunity to learn from our decisions.

When you think about it, wrong decisions can help us make right decisions. I ordered the fish and learned that I prefer beef. I decided not to move my family and learned that we could use a change.

Taking it a step further, a wrong decision is just a detour
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How to use your gut instinct to make a decision

When we can’t decide between two or more choices, we’re stuck acting like a Waffler. To get unstuck, we need to follow our gut instinct — listening to your inner voice lets you take action, and more often than not, it’s the right one for you.

What is gut instinct?
 “Gut instincts are the sum total of [your] experiences — millions and millions and millions of them. And that sum total enables you to make reasonable decisions,” says Bob Lutz,  who used his instinct to turn around Chrysler in the 1990s.

Instinct, the opposite of logical reasoning, tell us viscerally if something feels right or wrong. And it signals us in a variety of ways.

• When a decision isn’t right, we may experience sweaty palms, sleeplessness, an upset stomach, or loss of energy.

• If our gut is telling us we’ve made the right decision, we may feel a sense of peace
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How we get stuck acting like a Waffler

It’s easy to tell when we’re acting like a Waffler: We simply can’t make a decision. Sometimes called “analysis paralysis,” this happens when we think and think and think about the choices until we’re frozen with indecision. We see the pros and the cons of each side, but can’t prioritize one over the other.

People who act like Wafflers on a regular basis tend to be super smart. Their minds can sprawl and crawl aspects of an idea that rarely occur to the rest of us. Inquisitive by nature, they want to be absolutely certain of their decision based on all the evidence.  Makes sense, right? But when they start asking questions like “what if he doesn’t like it?” or “what if the money runs out?” the possibilities grow exponentially and the swirl begins.

There are two key concepts that stop the swirl:

1. Trusting your gut instinct, and

2. Believing that most decisions
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