For those of you too engrossed in your Google Readers to follow the link, here’s what you’d learn if you did: my friend Laurie Ruettimann, aka The Cynical Girl (notice the title of this post—clever, huh?) wrote recently about gut instincts. She says following your gut is dangerous if your gut sucks, and she provides a Cosmo-quiz style test to determine if your gut is worth listening to.
Laurie, you know I’m a big fan of following your gut, if for no other reason than it’ll probably throw a monkey wrench in your neat, little, prefabbed, mythical career path. Besides, brains are too glitchy. If brains were software, there’d currently be a recall affecting roughly 6 billion installations. I’m not sure that this is the worst idea ever, but it does get the point across about how you can’t always trust a brain to make a good decision. Plus, there’s this handy guide to why thinking is often overrated.
Plus, there’s this: you can improve your gut, but you can’t improve your brain. There’s just no way to make you significantly smarter. Maybe for your next life, you’ll choose better parents, I don’t know. But for now, try this to make better gut decisions:
- If your body automatically changes its normal routine, flow with it, even after your brain catches on and tries to get you “back on the program.” Your gut has spoken, and your gut is never wrong. I’m not sure how or why… it just isn’t. The only time it seems wrong is when it’s your brain masquerading as your gut.
- If a strange question pops into your head randomly, flow with the odd option. Again, your true gut is speaking to you. The thought only seems like a question because your brain is trying to earn its keep by “adding value.” Really, your brain should just shut up.
- If you’re worried about something, get an outside opinion. Don’t trust either your brain or your gut if you’re worried.
- If you’re angry, sad, annoyed, spiteful, or [insert negative emotion here], then do the opposite of what your gut tells you. Your gut is still working perfectly, you’re just in a negative place, so everything’s backward. Like a film negative.
So, gut vs. brain… Laurie says brain, I say gut. What say you?
Jason Seiden is CEO of Ajax Workforce Marketing. Ajax amplifies brands by aligning employees' online messaging.