Why You Should Trust Your Instincts

Do you ever get a gut feeling about someone or something and take no notice? If you do, it’s time to learn to trust your instincts and give your first reaction some credit.

Instinct is a marvellous thing. It can neither be explained nor ignored. – Agatha Christie

Trust Your Instincts

When we ignore our unconscious mind only to process information or apply our knowledge we are more likely to draw the wrong conclusions. Instead learn to read your gut feeling—to trust your instincts—and understand what your intuition is telling you.

Photograph of tourists reading a map beneath a sign post.

Should you trust your instincts or use common sense?

Intuition comes to us from instinctive feeling and not conscious reasoning. Intuition is our inner perception and is grounded on past knowledge and experience. We all experience intuition. Sometimes it is finding an answer to a question or knowing valid solutions to a problem. Ideas just appear from our unconscious mind before we can give them credence.

We may choose to listen to our gut feeling: to trust our instincts. Or to consciously review and question: to use logical reasoning.

But how reliable is intuition? And how trustworthy is logical reasoning?

When to Trust Your Instincts

The reliability of our intuition depends greatly on past knowledge and specific experiences. For instance, someone who has had much experience with recruitment will tend to have a better instinct or intuition about potential employees.

However, the downside to intuition—and logical reasoning for that matter—is an inclination for bias and a propensity to ignore some of the facts. For these reasons, we must choose when to trust our instincts and when to use reasoning.

Therefore, learn to recognise your inner voice and what it is telling you. Is the guy you’re interviewing a fool? Or do you hold prejudice? Are you going for the wrong job when there could be a conflict of values? Or is the pay cheque too tempting?

If you get a gut feeling the best course of action is to understand why. Ask more questions of yourself and of others.

He may look like an idiot and talk like an idiot, but don’t let that fool you. He really is an idiot.” – Groucho Marx

Next time you get an uneasy feeling pause for a moment to work out what your unconscious mind is trying to tell you. Learn to trust your instincts!

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Creative Commons images courtesy Hefin Richards and Simon Hildrew.