How to Trust Your Gut
I was disappointed to see an article pop up on my Linked In feed titled ‘Stop Trusting your Gut’.
“What?!” I thought. My whole philosophy on life is that we must listen to our gut and amplify our intuition. The more we continue to use this higher guidance, the better our lives become and the more good we do for everyone else. So as you can imagine this statement jarred.
Then I read beyond the title and saw it’s an interview with an ex professional poker player. She was arguing that we can let irrational thought override sound logic and reason. Now I could see her point. If you are using your gut to play poker then there is a big chance your ego is going to get involved and start playing tricks on you. And this reminded me this is something we all have to be mindful of when listening to our gut and our intuition in our daily lives.
We need to learn the difference between the ego and the intuitive voice. The ego part of us can be a wily character and tends to try to control and take charge out of fear. So when we’re attached to an outcome, frightened of losing something or urged on by wishful thinking… the ego will send in its own messages motivated by one of these states.
It’s easy to see how this might play out during a game of poker:
1. Attached to the Outcome – Obviously the poker player wants to win the hand or the game. And therefore she might expect her gut to align with this wish. However, sometimes winning the game is not for your highest good. From a higher perspective, perhaps someone else needed to win – or perhaps you needed to lose – and your gut knows this even if you don’t. This is the same in life. In my experience, my gut and my intuition always guide me towards the highest good – and sometimes that’s away from what I think I want. So we may take action based on our gut and the outcome may be disappointing. Usually I find it’s not until sometime later, the benefits become clear and I am grateful that I didn’t get what I wanted.
2. Frightened of losing something – In a game of poker, as in the game of life, money is involved. Fear of losing money is linked to fears for our survival. So the ego part of us (which just wants to keep us safe) is quite capable of masquerading as intuition or gut instinct in an attempt to keep us in the safety of our comfort zone. When I was making a decision to leave employed work and go into a totally new self-employed direction, I was panicky and fearful about losing my steady income. After I’d made the decision and asked for redundancy from my employer, I had panicky thoughts about what I was doing. I started seeing messages everywhere about people failing when they took a crazy risk. I could have interpreted this as my gut or intuition guiding me back to the employed world. Instead I rode the storm. (side note: 8 years on it’s the best decision I ever made!).
3. Wishful thinking – In poker, knowing the cards other players hold would give you a huge advantage. During a round, it may be our deepest desire that our opponent has a poor hand. However we might want it so badly that we are certain our gut is telling us it’s true. Similar happens in real life, for example, your ex rings up wanting you back. You know he (or she’s) not good for you but you still hold a candle for them. You convince yourself that your gut is telling you to get back together with them. (I’m sure many of us have been down that route or witnessed friends go down that route and we all know where it ends up). The point is, it’s not your gut or your intuition telling you to go there. Your wishful thinking is so loud, it drowns out the intuition.
So my advice is Trust Your Gut. But hone your intuition and your natural talent so you get better and better at recognising it. You can check an intuitive message or gut feel by asking yourself:
Is this message driven by fear?
Does it prevent me stepping outside of my comfort zone?
Is my desire for making this happen overriding my ability to connect to the quiet voice within?
If you answer yes to any of these questions, then the message or feeling is probably not your intuition or your gut!
Equally, if you’re sure your intuition was telling you to do something and you acted on it but didn’t get the outcome you desired – then could it be that your intuition is spot on and that outcome wasn’t in your best interest. Time will probably tell.
So in 2021, start trusting your gut, and work on discerning the difference between ego messages, intuition and ‘gut feels’.
If you would like some help honing your intuitive skills, please work through my Amplify Your Intuition training.