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5 Reasons It Pays To Trust Your Gut

5 Reasons It Pays To Trust Your Gut

Decision-making is a fundamental part of life and of human experience. We make and take decisions, big and small, every single day. But what’s the best way to make decisions – using facts, experience and data, or trusting your gut?

It’s an age-old question, one we’ve never really been able to answer. That quirky urge, the unusual tingle, an angel on your shoulder, that little voice in your head – these are all signs of gut feeling. But should we rely on these little signs to navigate our way through this thing called life?

Here are 5 reasons you should trust in your gut when you make decisions, whether they’re big, life-changing ones like buying a house, getting married or on a bit smaller in scale, like what to have for breakfast or what to wear on a night out.

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1. Trusting your gut could get you ahead at work

It comes as no wonder that many of the most well-known business minds, from Richard Branson to Steve Jobs, have vouched for the power of instinctive gut thinking for make decisions. Jobs himself famously said:

“You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”

Looking to your gut rather than your brain could well help you in your career. This infographic from gaming experts 888 Casino shows that intuitive decision-making can be effective as much as 90% of the time. 62% of business executives say they rely on gut thinking to help them make key decisions

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2. It could help you spot a liar

Want to yell: ‘Liar, liar pants on fire!’ and be sure of it? Trust your gut. Research has found gut instinct is better than our conscious minds when it comes to spotting fibbers. The study found, perhaps surprisingly, that instinctive, automatic assumptions could well be more helpful when spotting truth-avoiders.

3. It could help you sort the wheat from the chaff

It seems first impressions really do count. It might be possible, using gut instinct, to weigh up whether a person is a good egg or not, in a matter of seconds – 10 to be precise, according to social psychologist David Myers, who wrote the book ‘Intuition: Its Powers and Perils.’ His book argues that early humans who could quickly detect whether a stranger was friend or foe were more likely to survive.

“If you don’t trust somebody, even if it turns out to be inaccurate, it is something to pay attention to,” intuitive psychiatrist Judith Orloff told Care2.com. “If you’re walking down the street at night and you get the feeling ‘stay away from that person,’ just cross the street.”

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4. Gut instinct could help you spot your soulmate

Sometimes you meet someone and they literally take your breath away. When it comes to relationships, instinctive intuition could well be the best watermark for figuring out if the person you’ve just met is someone you’re going to spend the rest of your life with…or not. The Casino infographic shows that, with 80% accuracy, it takes just 3 minutes to work out whether a couple will stick together or end up getting divorced. So when it comes to soulmates and spirit animals, trust your gut.

5. Intuition could guide you through life

You might be familiar with the book ‘The Dice Man’, which is about a psychiatrist who decides to make his life decisions based on the casting of dice. In the end this gets him into all manner of trouble. He would have been better off trusting his gut, because in general, making decisions on gut instinct alone can help you make the right call up to 90% of the time.

It really does pay to trust your gut.

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Featured photo credit: maggiedent via maggiedent.com

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Last Updated on August 16, 2018

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system”.

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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The power of habit

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being six hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The wonderful thing about triggers (reminders)

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to make a reminder works for you

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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