How often do you have a really strong gut instinct and it proves to be wrong? How often do you override that instinct and then kick yourself later on? My guess would be that if you’re anything like the people that come to me for life coaching the answers are hardly ever and always.
Everybody knows intuitively that they have solid instincts. I have never met anybody either professionally or socially that says. “My gut feeling is terrible, I’m always getting in a mess by listening to myself, what can I do about it?” How weird is that? It seems to me it’s a universal truth.
Although at this point I have to confess I only know a small percentage of people when we look at it from a global perspective. In fact, we are probably talking about 0.000005% of the population; so statistically speaking it’s about as accurate as a blind baseball pitcher with Meniere’s disease.
Having said that, I’m prepared to bet that you don’t disagree with me. In fact, I’ll go as far to say that if you can honestly say you believe your gut instinct lets you down on a regular basis, drop me an e-mail and I’ll mail you a copy of my book with instructions on how to operate it, because you’re going to need them.
The conscious human mind can only deal with 7 + or – 2 pieces of information at once. Until you read this sentence you almost certainly aren’t aware of your left foot. But hey, presto, now you are! Way to go on shifting your awareness like a Zen Master. If you lost your foot in a freak fairground accident last week I apologize for my lack of tact. I hope you can forgive me and please accept my best wishes for a speedy recovery hoppy.
The fact is, you have to constantly delete information from your conscious mind, otherwise you’d go into sensory overload. Try and do it now if you have any doubt. Place your awareness in your right hand, now your left hand too. Now move to your feet and remain aware of your hands. Easy? Maybe, but that’s still only 4, so try thinking about what your lower back feels like without letting your attention move from your hands. By now you will be starting to struggle, but if you’re not keep going and you soon will be.
Think of your conscious mind as being like the RAM on your computer. It does lots of good stuff and it’s nice to have around and all that, but hey c’mon, it’s no hard drive! That is like the difference between your conscious and unconscious mind.
Your unconscious mind can do lots of stuff easily without you ever having to intervene. I presume your heart is beating, your food is being digested, and you do not have to remember to blink your eyes or maintain your blood pressure, right? If not you maybe dead, so stop reading now and call for an ambulance and/or an undertaker.
What happens when you get a strong gut feeling is that your unconscious mind is trying to tell you what it thinks in the only way it knows how, with feelings. It can’t talk to you because it’s unconscious, hence the rather obvious name. It has done lots of calculations, looked at all the permutations, given it serious consideration and is now shouting “Whoa there big fella, it aint a great idea to poke that skunk with a stick” Of course the ‘shout’ can manifest itself in any number of ways. You may get sweaty palms, a nauseous feeling or just a sense of something not being quite right.
So what do most people do when they get a strong gut feeling?
That’s right, they override it. Because it doesn’t make logical sense on the surface, skunk poking notwithstanding, it tends to get dismissed. A feeling is just that, a feeling, it can be hard to put into words. When we can’t explain logically why we think something is a bad or even for that matter a good idea, we can tend to either ignore it completely or use faulty logic to dismiss it out of hand.
Some people (kinesthetics) find to very easy to tune into their feelings, but truly kinesthetic people account for less than 15% of the population. If you’re not one of the lucky few then you’ll have to pay extra special attention. Tune in to your body more often and start to recognize the patterns an when it’s trying to tell you something.
If your unconscious is saying don’t take that job, go on that date, poke that skunk – take heed. It knows what it’s talking about and it has your best interests at heart. The alternative it to disregard it as some weird nebulous feeling that’s come out of nowhere and almost certainly live to regret it.