When is it not a good idea to trust your gut?


3 Answers

Yo Kass Profile
Yo Kass , Analytical type of guy (often falsely accused of being indecisive), answered

This is a question I often ask myself and, although I really think it depends on your personality, I'm of the opinion that the best way to make a decision is to take into consideration all possible perspectives (your own and others) - with your gut feeling being an additional (and important) point of view.

Having said that, whenever I'm stuck on a tough decision my train of thought usually goes something like this:

  • Consider the issue from several perspectives for a long period of time.
  •  Get frustrated with how long it's taking me to make a decision and just go with my gut feeling anyway.     

I don't know how many people go through this, but I find this happening to me quite a lot.

To answer your question more directly though, I think there are a few times when your gut instinct should be ignored completely:

When trusting your gut is a bad idea

When you are intoxicated. 

Whether it's messaging an ex or jumping on a last-minute flight to Vegas with your life savings; snap decisions that are made under the influence of alcohol (or other mind-altering substances) tend to have unforeseen and unwanted repercussions.

When you're emotionally unstable. 

Making a decision when you're angry or upset is also usually a bad idea. People often regret things they say and do in the "heat of the moment".

Sexually charged encounters

Speaking of "hot moments", being sexually attracted to someone can also be a cause for making rash decisions.

You don't want to end up in that situation where you meet a stunning stranger at the bar, throw caution to the wind and take them home - only to wake up the next morning with your cat missing and your box of Honey Nut Cheerios several grams lighter.

When going with your instinct is a good idea

Having read the above list, you might be scared off ever making a "gut decision" ever again. Personally, I think this can be just as dangerous.

In many cultures, people believe that our guts actually have a brain of their own (maybe this is where the idea of a gut instinct comes from?).

Concepts like chakras and other spiritual beliefs recognise that parts of the body, such as the stomach, hold power of reasoning. 

I believe this might be linked to subconscious decisions that our bodies make all the time.

One example is when your body senses imminent danger - and causes "butterflies" or other strange feelings in your stomach.

This is a result of an evolutionary trait that many animals have, where they empty their bowels to make themselves lighter whilst running away from a predator or other danger.

Whilst this isn't an excuse to defecate in public, what it goes to show is that sometimes your body and subconscious will pick up on things faster than your conscious mind might.

2 People thanked the writer.
Melinda Moore
Melinda Moore commented
Love this answer - especially your decision-making process, which sounds just like mine! Great stuff on the evolutionary aspects, too - thanks!
Roz Soccorro
Roz Soccorro commented
Best. Blurt-it. Answer. Ever.
Yo Kass
Yo Kass commented
Hah thanks!
Natalia Chouklina Profile

Nicole, it's always a good idea to trust your gut but the issue is discerning what the voice of your gut ( aka intuition) sounds like. I'd disagree with Kass here because I feel that when you are stuck in certain situations, your intuition is often the only clear source of guidance available to you. I often work with clients who have to make very tough decisions and they spend days mulling them over. When I ask them what their gut tells them, they come up with a very straightforward and situation-appropriate answer in seconds.

If you don't have a practice of tuning into your intuition on a regular basis, it can be quite confusing at first and you may end up listening to a few other urges instead of intuition.

Practice makes perfect though... I use this practice called HHG. Head-Heart- Gut... When you are in a tough spot, tune in and ask yourself the following questions:

What is my head saying?

What is my heart saying?

What is my gut saying?

In each case, focus on the part of your body you asking and pay close attention to the responses, tones, feelings and physical symptoms that arise.

Hope this helps you to get to know your gut a bit better and make friends.

Take care, Natalia

Alex South Profile
Alex South answered

I wrote a blog post about this, and it led me to think the following: there are two kinds of gut feeling.

The first is based on intuition - for instance when you meet someone and instantly like or dislike them without really knowing why.

The second is when you want to follow you heart, or make a big descion. Your gut is telling you to go for it, but your fears are telling you to play it safe.

The first type is accurate with some things but not with others, check out: www.psychologytoday.com/collections/201205/when-go-your-gut

The second kind is something I always listen to. You have to put your happiness first, and listen to what YOU really want.

Feel free to read the full post: http://www.sevenstorieshigh.com/2013/06/17/why-you-should-go-with-your-gut/

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