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Monday, March 17, 2014

Should You Trust Your Gut? 03-18


Should You Trust Your Gut?


We all have things we’re afraid of in both our personal and professional lives. Yet, sometimes facing those fears is exactly what we need to do to succeed. Listening to your gut instinct instead of sorting through all the facts might scare you, but does your gut know more than you think?

Often, these gut instincts are more powerful and intelligent than the “common sense” espoused by our fears. After all, every great invention probably seemed like madness at the time, whether it was the electric light or Facebook. Listening to your gut might seem crazy, but even science confirms it could be the difference between excelling and stagnating in your career.
Why You Should Trust Your Gut
Most people think emotions have no place when it comes to making big, important business decisions. This, however, could not be further from the truth. Your gut instinct telling you to accept a new job or to pivot an important project can be much more effective than pouring over reams of data to determine the “smartest” choice.
Plus, science itself shows emotional responses can actually be essential in making smart choices. Antonio R. Damasio, a neuroscientist at the University of Iowa College of Medicine,has been studying patients with damage to their prefrontal cortices. This is the area which processes secondary emotions. Damasio found patients with trauma in this section have a difficult time making decisions. While these people could logically weigh the options available, they were unable to make the intuitive jump needed to decide.
According to Damasio, emotions and feelings help us filter through possibilities quickly. Emotions and past experience combine to form the gut instinct most of us don’t quite trust. Yet, for most people, decision making isn’t a cold and calculated approach. Today’s rapidly changing world leaves few of us the option to sit back with mountains of data before making a decision. Often, gut instincts can be the difference between a career-changing decision and maintaining the status quo.
Success Stories From Those Who Faced Fears and Trusted Themselves
Plenty of the most successful people faced down big fears and trusted their gut instinct in order to be successful. Here are some famous success stories where business leaders threw conventional wisdom out the window, trusted their gut, faced their fear of failure, and succeeded anyway:
Henry Ford and Worker Compensation
Henry Ford wasn’t just dreaming up new automobiles, he was also dreaming up new ways to keep workers engaged and happy. In 1941, the employee turnover rate in Ford’s factories was a staggering 370 percent.
He knew he had to do something about it, so he shortened the work day from nine to eight hours and paid employees a higher wage. People thought he was crazy, and his actions flew in the face of conventional wisdom at the time. Following his gut reduced his employee turnover to 16 percent within one year, and led to the building of an empire.
Take A Big Risk Like Oprah Winfrey
Trusting her gut was what Oprah did when she left her world-famous talk show and started her own network. Things were rocky at first, but now are steadily improving. In fact, February 2014 was the most watched month for the network ever. It’s beginning to come into its “OWN,” and that’s because Oprah was willing to trust her gut and take a big risk.
Wayne Gould and Giving it Away for Free
Wayne Gould fell in love with Sudoku while in Tokyo and brought the puzzle craze to the U.S. He loved the puzzles so much he offered his self-generated Sudoku puzzles to publications for free. All he asked was for the more than 400 publications worldwide to promote his website, program, and books. Sudoku became a worldwide craze and Gould became very, very rich just by avoiding conventional wisdom, taking a chance at failure, and listening to his gut.
Your gut is more powerful than you think, and this gut instinct might be the difference between professional success and failure. By facing your fears and listening to your gut, you can dream, disrupt, and achieve greatness.