We make decisions out of three different places.
The head, heart, and gut.
When you make decisions with the head, you’re using logic, rationality, and historical patterns as your framework.
When you make decisions with the heart, you’re using emotion, feeling, empathy, and desire as your framework.
When you make decisions with the gut, you’re using an internal, certain, unexplainable “knowing” at the core of who you are as your framework.
The mainstream conversation is always about the head and the heart, but rarely the gut. And that’s unfortunate, because I strongly believe the gut is the absolute first framework one should make decisions out of.
It’s fairly easy to discern when you’re using your head vs. your heart; rationality and emotion are, well, different things. But, it’s harder to discern when you’re using your heart vs. your gut.
So, let’s talk about heart vs. gut for a moment.
Heart has a lot to do with emotion and empathy. When you make decisions based on your “feelings,” you’re likely operating out of the heart. Your gut, on the other hand, is an instant knowing. It’s the calm and certain sense you get about whether you are or are not supposed to do something.
Some call it intuition. Some call it the soul. Some call it God. Some say, “I just know.”
Your feelings can amplify the sound of your gut when both are in line. But often, feelings stem from many other things: fear, anxiety, personal relationship dynamics, season of life.
When you make decisions based primarily on feelings, that’s when you stay in the wrong relationships longer than necessary, stay at the wrong jobs way longer than necessary, and make choices you wind up regretting. And on the note of regret, people commonly say, “I have none”—but let’s be real—we all have things we wish we could have done differently.
It’s so important to recognize our feelings because they help us understand how we react to particular triggers, or in certain circumstances. But, understanding feelings and being run by them are two very separate things.
My feelings have been off at times. But my gut? That’s never been off. Never.
I know you know what I’m talking about. We’ve all had moments or made decisions where we were just absolutely certain—moments when we were terrified of something, but knew we had to do it, anyway. Moments where we “just knew” we were supposed to pick up and move, start a relationship, get out of one, take a job, leave a job, go to an event, walk down a random street. It had nothing to do with logic, and nothing to do with a feeling, either.
We all have these moments of incredible grace. The more we listen to it, the louder we’ll hear the calling of our gut. Intuition. Soul. God.
So, my challenge to you is to get more in touch with yours. The next time you are, all of a sudden, washed with a feeling of total serenity about something terrifying, or very certain about a perceivably irrational decision, trust it. Run with it.
If you discover what I’m discovering, I think you’ll learn that joyful decision making has nothing to do with the head or the heart.
It has to do with the part of you that just knows.
It has to do with your gut.