I am a very rational person. Sometimes, I am even too rational and try to solve everything by using logic. Life is not about logic most of the time and we need to consider dimensions which cannot be addressed with logic. Sometimes, logic might tell you one thing, but your gut tells you another. I learned that this gut feeling is nothing I should ignore.
It is really difficult to describe, but when I am in a certain situation, I have a feeling in my stomach which tells me if it is good or bad. My mind works really fast; sometimes too fast to rationalize what is going on around me. With good things, it is relatively easy. During the conversation, I get a tickling feeling, my mind starts racing, I can already see everything clearly in front of me. It is a bit trickier when things seem great at first, but then they slowly unfold. Multiple times, I was in meetings where I thought everything was great, I got excited (but without that tickling sensation mentioned above). Shortly after I left, I could not get rid of this feeling telling me that something is off.
Let me give you an example. Several years ago, I had a meeting resulting in a job offer which seemed impossible to not accept at first sight. However, already during the meeting, some odd things happened which I only noticed when I went through the meeting again at home. For example, it was an informal meeting in a café to get to know each other and discuss if that position would be interesting for me. I expected one or several formal steps afterwards, such as an assessment centre or further interviews. Towards the end of the meeting, somebody passed our table who knew the person interviewing me. They said hello and I was already introduced as a member of the team. Even though we had not even discussed the role properly as yet! During the meeting, I had not noticed it really. It felt strange, but all the other factors seemed so much more important. Later on, the strange feeling about this comment became stronger. No serious company would immediately “hire” you on the spot or introduce you to strangers before the ink on paper is dry (in this case, there was not even a paper yet…). I noticed more and more things which were completely off and I ended up not pursuing the position. I cannot disclose more details about this position, but let me tell you this: looking back, it was one of the best decisions I have ever made.
Similarly, I have learned to listen my gut with all kinds of relationships as well. And trust me, I had to learn it the hard way. I tend to assume that everyone around me is honest, shares my value system and works as hard as I do on the relationship. Let’s cut many long stories short, I was disappointed more than once. It happened so often that I met someone who seemed like a great fit as a business partner and after some time, I learned about character traits, work ethics and value systems which did not correspond to mine at all. Every single time this happened, I thought to myself, why had I not listened to my gut? Because if I had been completely honest with myself: I had felt it before. There may have been a small comment I brushed off, an uncomfortable meeting or just a strange feeling during a conversation, and my gut would have been right every single time. Even with romantic relationships: when the guy was not the right one, my gut told me looong before there were actual red flags. Listening to it would have spared me a lot of emotional baggage.
Looking back, things are always easier, they always make sense. It is much more difficult when we are stuck in a certain situation. But having your gut guide you a little may make it a bit easier. I have learned to channel it for various things. When I develop new products for Pelagona, my gut is the first indicator if something will work or not. If my gut already tells me no, the customers will probably never get to see a certain item in the first place. It may sound irrational – the customers may like it after all – but I do know that I have developed a good feeling for what works or not. Frankly, I do not want to waste my time promoting products which I do not back 100% myself. And just recently, I was reaffirmed by finding out that somebody with whom I considered a potential partnership was not completely honest. Even though many people tried to talk me into this partnership, I had my doubts from the beginning and I am glad that I trusted my gut.
I would not consider myself a spiritual person. As I mentioned before, logic is something I trust more. But there is something about the “power of the gut feeling”. It is true that we cannot base everything in life solely on this, but I do think it can be a useful dimension of our decision-making process.