Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Philosophical Question Tuesday - Research or Gut?

Today's question is as follows:
When making big decisions in your life - are you better off thinking about them carefully, weighing up all the pros and cons, or should you just go with your gut. Your gut as opposed to your heart should give you instantaneous instruction, and should be a bit more practically based than the heart, ie i'm not asking should you just do what you want, more should you do what your subconscious (or gut) tells you is the right decision.
And this is for big decisions I am asking - ie huge - life changing decisions - like deciding where to live, whether to leave your job, whether to have children. Should you agonise over all these things, spend weeks on end researching it, or just listen to your gut, and dive on in, whichever way it tells you to go?
The advantage I can see for this approach is the time saving, plus the fact that you won't feel bad about your research and analysis skills, if it turns out to be a bad choice, since you won't have actually researched it. On the downside - you might make stupid mistakes in your decisions, by not shopping around or really thinking about the implications, cos your stupid gut told you so.
Read Malcolm Gladwell's Blink - for a strong argument pro trusting your gut. Any recommendations for a strong argument anti?

11 comments:

NanU said...

I think an integrated approach is best. The gut needs to be fed objective information before its reactions will be better than wild guesses. The brain needs to account for what feels indefinably right, and also needs to get a move on and make a choice instead of wavering endlessly between the pros and cons.
Marshal all your resources, not just some of them. If thinking leads you in circles, let your gut lead you out of the maze.

beedlemama said...

Hmmm, I think if it is your gut and you are sure this is your TRUTH, then I would always trust it, not matter how much trouble it can seem to get you in.... things have a way of sorting themselves out. The heart is as you say a wild card, but ignoring it can also result in bad consequences too - move in passion, rest in reason, said the prophet - I think that is very good advice. Researching and thinking gets you nowhere really unless you are maybe buying a house - stuff such as children etc... well no amount of research will help you there... and there is no such thing as a 'good' time! Good luck....

Totalfeckineejit said...

Sometimes I go with the gut mainly I go with the heart once or twice I tried the liver but it really didn't know feck all about anything.The kidneys are no better, a right pair of feckin EEjits, "put all your money on a horse" they said when we needed to buy a car but hadn't enough cash.So we did and it lost and all those pair did was laugh, so I got a penknife chopped one of them out and ate it with some fava beans.That shut the other one up I can tell you.
If you are making a big decision don't leave it to your vital organs, find somebody really intelligent with a leaving cert and ask them what to do.

Niamh B said...

Thanks Nanu - this is a great summary and makes alot of sense. Altho employing the brain even part time for thinking through important decisions does use alot of time and effort, but maybe it is necessary.
Thanks BM - I know - trouble's a bit of a scary thing, but I think you do have to be brave too sometimes... (but not in real life, in real life I'm a huge scaredy cat)
TFE - Do you have a leaving cert? You're a genius.

Totalfeckineejit said...

Well, I did leave school and I was certified.

Titus said...

Wow, I couldn't decide until I read NanU's advice.
My answer: do what she says!

Niamh B said...

TFE - knew it.
Titus - I know - she's so wise.

Matt Bolton said...

I follow the gut or try and do what will be less dull.

the watercats said...

you're damned if you do and damned if you don't.. personally.. I go with the flow maaan!... winging your way through life without planning more than a day in advance is alright. I've had no major disasters... just odd hiccups.. throw yourself to the arms of fate, destiny, and something else intangible :-)

Niamh B said...

Matt, sounds like a solid sensible way to lead your life.
I once got my dog to choose my college course for me, (as neither gut nor brain were being particularly helpful), by placing snacks for him over various pieces of paper. He chose Biochemistry - clever dog.

Niamh B said...

Hey Watercats, I was typing as you were typing, talk about fate man!
You're right too, sometimes planning too much can be counter productive, and going with the flow can lead interesting places. Although sometimes going against the flow is interesting, i'd be a mostly path of least resistance kind of person, and if you follow that in response to yourself, and your gut I think it's good - ie you are being true to yourself. In the outer world following the path of least resistance can just be called laziness/ cowardice tho!