Gut checks: Making decisions based on feeling

It seems like we make decisions all the time based on feelings, and why not? Go with your gut: we can learn so much from the feelings, the intuitions that come up, that sometimes seem to know more than we know.
Because we can only compute logically to a certain degree within certain known parameters, but there are so many unknowns, so many undefinables, that we can really get a feeling and just a sense of them and then make decisions based on that.
This can really serve us.
We can do well to not be overly guided by logical decision-making.
Because if we simply accept that we don’t know most of what’s going on, that there’s so much of what’s going on that we have no idea about, then this kind of intuitive gut feel can really be a very valuable tool to help us make these uncertain guesses.
And yet if we make decisions based on how we feel, it’s always something that is in the moment.
It’s very short-lived.
When we have a feeling, that is the snapshot of how we are doing in that moment of time.
And along with all the advantages that we have of feeling over logic, that we can combine all these kind of undefinable unknowns together and make a gut call out of nowhere, without having certainty, we also have the disadvantage that, well, when we make a gut call, it really is taking everything into consideration.
It’s including everything that’s relevant and everything that’s irrelevant.
When we get a gut feeling about something, our gut feeling is also affected by how we’re doing that day, what we had for breakfast, how we slept the night before, what the last conversation that we had, what kind of social interaction we’ve been having, what kind of thoughts we’ve been having.
There’s so much all mixed together that when it works, it’s great, but it doesn’t let us separate out any of the pieces of it.
We can’t have a gut feeling and then logically break down that gut feeling into all the different pieces that go up to make it.
Well, I have this kind of gut feeling, but that’s just because of I had a bad breakfast and a bad night’s sleep, but here’s my gut feeling about the issue and the decision that I’m making.
We can’t divide it up like that.
When we have a gut feeling, it covers everything.
That’s important to keep in mind when we’re making gut feeling decisions.
We are deciding in the moment, based on how we feel that moment.
So one very common and effective way of improving gut feeling is, like they say, “Sleep on it.” Sleep on it is so effective.
It gives us time for these things to sink in, and it gives us a chance to have a different feeling at a different moment.
Rather than making our decision on the basis of a single moment, we can have a gut feeling over several moments.
And through the feeling at different points in time, we can compare how we react in one day or another, at one time or another, and compare so that we can really kind of mix using our gut with using logic.
Look at our gut reaction, and look at it at different times, and try to filter out the things that are maybe irrelevant, and so that we can focus on what our gut is telling us about the important decision that we want to make.
And to filter it out, we can kind of average out over different times.
It’s a repeated gut check over many different times.
So if we just have one gut check at one moment, well, we could be having that reaction because we are having indigestion or we had a bad conversation with somebody that’s kind of grumbling inside us.
Or we could have a very uplifted and elevated sense of everything because we had a golden moment, and so we’re feeling the wonder of this moment, and then that kind of shining feeling is reflecting on everything, including our decision.
But then we go back later, look at the same thing again: maybe that feeling of indigestion, or the memory of the bad conversation, that’s faded, so now we can have a different gut reaction.
Or, maybe the feeling of the glow and the wonder of all creation and this kind of golden feeling, maybe that’s faded as well, and then the shine is also off the thing that we’re deciding about.
So it seems like this is the way we can make the best use of our gut, is by taking these multiple snapshots, and then we can bet that all the irrelevant factors will kind of average themselves out.
The more times we check our gut, the more chance we have to sort of average out all the different moods and feelings about that are irrelevant to our decision, just these kind of ambient factors, these environmental factors of what’s going on in our life in that moment.
And out of that, we can extract maybe the thing that stays steady.
Whether we react in a certain way when we felt bad, we react another way when we felt great, but still there was something that didn’t change.
So, through this multiple snapshot approach, by continuing to go back and get that gut check all over again, we can use this tool, I think, to make some very powerful decisions.

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