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Should You Trust Your Gut?

Your gut is surprisingly smart. It knows what’s good for you, and how to keep your body functioning properly. When you are in danger, it is your gut reaction that triggers your fight-or-flight response. But do you trust your gut? Do you trust its decisions? Chances are, sometimes you do and sometime

Phil McKinney
Phil McKinney
6 min read
a picture of a street sign on logic and intuition
trust you gut – logic and intuition

Your gut is surprisingly smart. It knows what’s good for you, and how to keep your body functioning properly. When you are in danger, it is your gut reaction that triggers your fight-or-flight response. But do you trust your gut? Do you trust its decisions? Chances are, sometimes you do and sometimes you don’t. You might even feel like your gut is betraying you.

Trust is such a difficult thing for us humans because we are constantly second-guessing ourselves. We have this amazing ability to think things through and analyze different scenarios, but sometimes that can work against us. When we trust our gut, we are trusting our intuition, which can be a very powerful thing.

What does it mean to trust your gut?

Trusting your gut means following your intuition. Intuition is that little voice in your head that tells you what’s right and wrong. It’s the thing that makes you feel like something isn’t right, even if you can’t explain why. Trusting your gut means listening to that voice and acting on it.

For example, you might meet someone and get a bad feeling about them. You have this nagging feeling telling you to be careful, but you can’t explain why. It would be best to trust your gut and stay away from this person in this situation.

Sometimes trusting your gut can be difficult, especially when you can’t explain why you feel the way you do. In these situations, it’s important to remember that your intuition is based on your experiences and knowledge. If you have a bad feeling about something, it’s probably because your intuition is trying to tell you something.

Can you always trust your gut feelings?

You can't always trust your gut feelings. Your intuition (or “gut feelings”) is based on your experiences and knowledge, so it's not always accurate. For example, if you have a bad feeling about something, it might be because of a previous experience that you've had. However, there are times when you should trust your gut, even if you can't explain why. If you have a bad feeling about someone, it's probably best to stay away from them.

Hollywood Example of Using Your Gut

Peter Guber, former CEO of Sony Entertainment and a member of the ownership groups for the Golden State Warriors and LA Dodgers, was on my podcast back in September 2015. Peter and I got connected when he interviewed me for his book, Tell to Win: Connect, Persuade, and Triumph with the Hidden Power of Story.

During the podcast interview, Peter shared how to select business partners and the process of green lighting movies. Both involve gut instinct, intuition, and previous experiences. One question I asked during the interview was, “Are there movies that you were convinced would be a box office hit and instead were a flop?” His reply was, “Yes. That's what is called the moving industry.” One topic that applies to this post is when he shared the use of gut and intuition, along with a willingness to take some risks, to achieve success. Some interesting behind the scene examples of knowing when it's gut and when it's taking a risk.

I would encourage you to listen to the full interview here.

When shouldn't you trust your gut instinct?

There are times when you shouldn't rely solely on your gut instinct. One example is when you're making a big decision. In those cases, it's important to analyze all the facts and consider all your options. Another time is when you're feeling emotional or angry. In those situations, it's best to calm down and think things through before making a decision.

How accurate is a gut feeling?

A gut feeling, or intuition, is often seen as a fairly accurate way to make decisions. While research on the topic is limited, some studies have shown that people who trust their gut feelings tend to make better choices than those who don't trust their intuition. This may be because our guts are constantly processing information, even when we're not consciously thinking about it.

According to a study, 85 percent of women who have a gut feeling that their partner is cheating are correct. Many people think that your gut feelings are quite trustworthy and should be paid attention to most of the time. The phrase “something just feels wrong,” is worth considering.

So, as part of your decision-making process, it's worth listening to your gut. It may not always be right, but it's usually a good indicator of what you should do.

Is your gut feeling logical or emotional?

When you're making a decision, it's important to ask yourself whether your gut feeling is based on logic or emotions. If your gut feeling is based on logic, then it's probably a good idea to trust it. However, if your gut feeling is based on emotions, then you should be careful before following it.

Emotional gut feelings are usually not as accurate as logical ones. This is because emotions can cloud our judgment and lead us to make impulsive decisions that we later regret. If you're feeling emotional about a decision, it's best to take some time to calm down and think things through before making a choice.

Could unconscious biases influence trusting your gut?

Unconscious bias can influence trusting your gut. Our unconscious biases are based on our past experiences and knowledge, so they can sometimes lead us to make inaccurate decision-making. For example, if we have a bias against someone, we might trust our gut feelings and avoid them, even if they're not actually harmful.

It's important to be aware of our unconscious biases and try to override them when making decisions. This can be difficult, but it's important to remember that our gut feelings are not always accurate. We should trust them only when they make sense logically.

Does your gut manifest with physical feelings?

Your gut feelings manifest with physical feelings, such as being tense or nervous. For example, if you have a bad feeling about someone, it's probably best to stay away from them. If you trust your gut instinct, you'll be more likely to pay attention to these physical feelings and act on them.

Examples of these physical feelings include feeling tense or nervous, having an upset stomach, or feeling like something is just not right. If you're feeling any of these physical sensations, it's worth paying attention to them and seeing if they're related to a gut feeling you have about a decision. If they are, trust your intuition and go with your first instinct.

Is instinct the same as gut feelings?

To clarify what you may be thinking, instinct differs from gut feelings. Instinct is a natural response that is automatic and doesn't require any thinking. Gut feelings are a type of intuition that requires some thinking. Gut feelings are based on logic and emotions, while instinct is based on natural responses.

An example of an instinctive response would be animals fleeing from a forest fire. This is an example of an instinct because the animal does not have time to think, it just reacts. Trust your gut would be more like if you were in doubt whether to ask your boss for a raise. You would have to think about the pros and cons before making a decision, which is why it would be classified as a gut feeling and not an instinct.

Is a hunch the same as gut feelings?

A hunch is not the same as gut feelings. A hunch is more like a guess, while gut feelings are based on intuition. Intuition is a subconscious process that's constantly taking in information and making split-second decisions. This means that a gut feeling is usually more accurate than a hunch.

Gut feelings are usually based on experience, whereas hunches can be based on anything. For example, you may have a hunch that someone is lying to you, but your gut feeling may be based on the fact that this person has lied to you before.

In summary …

So there you have it. Three reasons you should trust your gut: because it's usually right, it can help you stay calm, and it's based on intuition.

So trust your gut the next time you're feeling indecisive. It may surprise you how accurate it is. And even if your gut feeling isn't 100% correct, you'll at least have the satisfaction of knowing that you made the decision yourself.


Phil McKinney Twitter

Phil McKinney is an innovator, podcaster, author, and speaker. He is the retired CTO of HP. Phil's book, Beyond The Obvious, shares his expertise and lessons learned on innovation and creativity.


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