Want to make better decisions? Release your need for certainty and trust your intuition.

One of the greatest resources we have access to when making decisions, is our intuition. Sadly so many people find it difficult to trust theirs. Brene Brown in ‘The Gifts of Imperfection’ (2018) captures the reasons for this perfectly. I use her teachings to share some insights in this blog.

One reason I find is that most people don’t really understand what intuition is. They consider it to be a “gut” feeling, if it comes from your gut, how can it possibly have anything to do with rational thoughts or reasoning?

Interestingly, Brown reminds us that intuition and reason are not mutually exclusive. Intuition works like a quick-fire sequence of connections that happens in our unconscious mind. 

As an NLP coach I know that when our brain takes in information, it deletes, distorts or generalises it, accessing our bank of memories in order to find relevant information it can attach itself to. This information is then assembled into the unconscious, creating the “gut feeling” that informs the actions we take.

It is this precise process of unconsciously drawing on previous experiences that allows a footballer taking a free kick or a rugby player taking a conversion, to know the precise angle and force they need to connect with the ball, without having to calculate the power and angles in the field of play.

If we accept this to be the case, we can’t consider intuition to be the opposite of reason. Intuition is merely a way of reasoning, leaving room for uncertainty when we make decisions.

When you embrace your intuition, you believe and trust yourself and the experiences that have contributed to your catalogue of knowledge. This permits you to act with a level of confidence even though you may not know what the outcome will be. You are making an educated guess based on your intuition. The football player can’t be certain that the ball will hit the back of the net, but using their intuition and drawing on their experiences they have had they strike the ball with confidence.

Another reason we don’t trust our intuition is our fear of failure or risk. How often have you hesitated when making a decision because you wanted to avoid taking a risk or you don’t like uncertainty. The likely outcome of this fear of risk is poor decision making. 

Let’s flip this. 

If we learn to embrace our intuition, as we now know it isn’t based on a ‘gut’ feeling, we can become accustomed to taking a course of action even when faced with uncertainty. By persisting with this approach and pushing through it becomes a habit which enables us to release the fear of making the wrong decision.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *