We live in an age that’s obsessed with the bottom line, and the numbers that it takes to get there. Sometimes, however, you have to fold a bit of instinct in with the research and scientific evidence — especially when it comes to your career. Here’s why it’s sometimes a good idea to go with your gut.
1. You know more than you think you know.
What we call intuition is really a sense based on years of learning. That’s why the gut instinct of a person who’s been doing a job for 10 years might (possibly) be worth more than that of the guy who’s new on the job.
When it comes to making decisions for yourself, you’re the person who knows best what will make you happy. After all, you’ve spent your whole life learning how to be you. Who could possibly know more?
2. Data is meaningless without context.
“The key to good decision making is not knowledge,” writes Malcolm Gladwell in Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking. “It is understanding. We are swimming in the former. We are desperately lacking in the latter.”
In other words, when it comes to choosing a job, for example, you can and should research the company and the position before you sign on — heck, before you even enter the interview process. But you’ll need to put the information in context with your goals and priorities in order to make a decision.
3. You’re in control of your choices.
Many people fear their gut instincts, because they think they’ll wind up ruining their career or their life because of a feeling. In fact, instincts can help us make better decisions, because they sometimes prompt us to seek second opinions.
“While it can be easy to take an expert at face value, if your intuition is blaring it may be time to get another perspective,” writes Patty Bloom at Levo League. “Often we defer to an expert’s opinion in incredibly high stakes situations, the same situations in which we have the most to lose. If you find yourself feeling there might be value in following up with another professional, make the call and set up an appointment.”
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