Should you trust your gut? That is a difficult question for many of us. We can all think of a time when trusting our instinct was right. But we can also think of a time when trusting our instinct got us into a lot of trouble. It can be difficult to differentiate between a decision where we should trust our instinct and one where we should not. But a good rule of thumb is that for big problems with long term ramifications, we should take the time to deliberate and talk to others. But for smaller issues with only short term consequences, you can go with your gut.

We Should Deliberate On Big, Consequential Issues

On the big, consequential issues–whether we should get a new job, go back to school, or rethink our relationship with someone close to us–we need to take the time to think things out. When we go quickly on big issues, we increase the likelihood that we will make a decision that we ultimately regret. If you are thinking about a problem that will have long term ramifications, it is best to sit down and think about it, or even to discuss it with someone that you trust.

We Can Trust Our Gut On Smaller Issues Where You Have To Respond Quickly

When the issue is smaller and less consequential, it is perfectly fine to trust your gut. Think about issues like a short term project at work or where you want to visit for your next vacation. On issues that won’t matter in the weeks or months down the line, it is totally fine to make a quick, rash decision. Even if you end up regretting your decision in the end, the stakes are low, so you won’t be missing out on too much.

Learn To Understand The Difference

The problem that most people have is it is difficult to tell the difference between a consequential decision and one that is not. Learning to differentiate between long-term and short-term decisions can help you to become a better decision maker. Ultimately, this is a skill that will help you become a better leader, team member, and develop into a trusted and thoughtful member of your organization.

Trusting your instinct is something that we are taught to do from an early age. It is something that is promoted as part of the American ethos. But oftentimes trusting your gut leads to the wrong decision. It is important to think about the type of decision you are making and the long term consequences. If the ramifications are long term and significant, then you should take the time to think about what to do. But if the consequences are limited or short term, then going with your gut may make more sense. Taking the time to think before a decision with wide reaching ramifications can save you a lot of heartache!