Duncan Lilly / Choices, choices… / CC BY-SA 2.0
Source: Wikimedia Commons
During election season, we are bombarded with choices from candidates to amendments. Even during a routine day — at home and in the workplace — choices must be made. When faced with making a decision, there are: Trust your instincts. Assess a logical pros and cons mode. Ask the advice of friends. Or choose to make no decision at all hoping that a particular situation will resolve itself while hiding under the blankets. Oftentimes, even though we may ask advice of others, and labor over a checklist, an inner voice has the answer. What is important in decision making is making the decision rather than obsessing over it.
In researching decision making for women, we learned that the power of intuition is dramatic. Some call it a sixth sense, but essentially it is that voice within that guides us. While it is often referred to as women’s intuition, in fact, researchers have documented “trusting your gut” with men as well. Oftentimes within the sports field coaches make decisions based on experience and instinct.
In Frontiers in Psychology, “If it feels right, do it,” (Collins, Collins and Carson 2016) — from the Institute for Coaching and Performance, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, UK — reported on a preliminary investigation regarding high level coaches and intuition. They determined:
“Initially intuitive then deliberate decision making was a particular feature, offering participants an immediate check on the accuracy and validity of the decision….
“Irrespective of how they may best be developed, intuition and analysis are both important components of expertise . . .”
Here are five simple ways to develop your intuitive nature. If you begin documenting the incidents and the outcome, you will gain confidence in yourself. You will spend less time obsessing about the decision and you will become less exhausting to your friends.
- Someone tells you a story and you know the ending before it’s revealed.
- You are watching a mystery movie and you immediately know the identify of the guilty party
- Someone keeps popping into your mind. You haven’t talked in a while, but “something tells you” to contact the person. And, yes, it was a time of crisis and that person needed support.
- You have a funny feeling about travel even though all the plans have been made. You call your friends and express your fears. You learn that the highway has been closed because of a bridge malfunction.
- Someone introduces you to a new friend and that person gives chills up and down your spine. You tell your friend, “I don’t trust that person.” And your instincts prove you to be right.
What about the times you were wrong when you trusted your instincts? It can happen and for this reason intuition and a logical process is beneficial. Essentially the coaches discussed in “If it feels right” built on experience and trusted instinct.
Train your thoughts so that your still, small, inner voice will become a decision making partner. Express gratitude for that voice. Begin trusting it rather than second-guessing yourself.
Using a journal will help guide you and may give you an idea of the patterns of decision making that are stressful and how to handle these stresses. While logical steps to decision making combined with intuition are valuable, it’s your intuition that gives you the edge.
Copyright 2018 Rita Watson