I’m a big fan of my gut. I trust my instincts and generally lean towards being a feeler more than being a thinker. In fact, I usually begin expressing myself with “I feel…” as opposed to “I think…” I’m pretty sure I’ve been doing that my whole life and only just began to notice it.
In Lean practice the is an axiom, “test your assumptions”. I love this and feel like it makes a ton of sense. I’ve learned over the years that it’s good to test and validate your ideas, decisions, thoughts, etc. Even if you initially have a strong gut feeling that you’re on the right track.
And, honestly, I’d bet most of the time your gut is right! Even so, there is a lot of value in testing your assumptions, regardless of what they are and how confident you feel. I used to be very proud of my gut, but now I see there is a lot to be said for stopping to think, even when you trust what your instincts are telling you.
There is serious value in thinking. Even for feelers.
First up, you’ll be wrong more that you’d like and you’ll have an opportunity to change your mind. You’ll be able to adapt. And, hey, changing your mind in light of more information is cool!
Second, and probably even more important: you’ll learn. Instinct is something that can be learned and honed over time. (Thank goodness.) And sure, you can develop it “naturally” through failure, but taking the time to think about and test your assumptions, as opposed to moving forward on instinct alone, will give you valuable information that failure alone will not.
Third, unless you’re alone on deserted island somewhere, you’ll likely be working and living with other people. Taking the time to work through your thinking (and feeling), will help you better engage with others. At the same time, you’ll better be able to defend your decisions.
Fourth, let’s face it, you can’t rely on instinct alone to help you call yourself on your own bullshit. Our instinct often feels right even when it’s not on target. Have you ever come across something that doesn’t sound right, only to learn later that it’s totally legit? Turns out that’s a natural feeling; we tend to reject things we don’t understand. The way around that behavior is to acknowledge, think and move on.
And, lastly, it’s awesome to see your gut feelings validated. Sometimes, while basking in the light of perceived success, we’re not sure why we were successful. Taking the time to question, analyze and test our intuition can help us better understand how our gut got us there, and that just feels good.
So, next time your tempted to go with a snap decision, stop for a bit, back up and think about it. Chances are you’ll come to the same conclusion, but now you’ll have a bunch of new leanings to work with.
I’m curious what you think. Do you trust your intuition? Or are you more of a critical, analytical thinker? Head on over to Branch to discuss.