Making a decision, any kind of important decision, can sometimes be a long, difficult process. With this is mind, have you ever stopped and analysed how you arrive at a decision? What was the deciding factor? Did you listen to intellectual reason? Did you decide based on you emotionally thought to be right? Or, did you just have a hunch, an intuition, about what to do? Maybe it was a combination of all three?
Whatever the outcome, these are the three ways (or ‘voices’) in which our consciousness makes decisions;
- Head (intellectually)
- Heart (emotionally)
- Gut (instinctively)
Obviously, how you react determines the outcome, so how do you know which ‘voice’ to follow? I guess it very much depends on the question.
Now there are some decisions which are quite obviously ruled by the head. Example, if you are trying to lose weight and eat healthy, and at lunch you have the decision between a salad and a burger. You may emotionally crave the burger, but you know that you should have the salad. This is based on the fact that a salad is healthier than a burger, but a burger is tastier than a salad. Following your heart instead of your head will lead to a bad decision.
Listening to you head, involves rationality, reason and intelligence. People who follow their head, and disregard their heart and gut feelings, are often perceived as cold, calculating or analytical. You might even argue that ‘head’ people can be superficially and not as good at relating emotionally.
You might be one of those people, or at least know someone, who repeatedly goes for the wrong guy/ girl. They know that this person will dump on their heart, yet they are so attracted to them that they just cannot help it. These unfortunate people are ruled by their heart. Other kinds of people may instinctively feel, or just know based on facts, that the object of their affections is a total love rat.
Listening to your heart may bring about quite a few bad decisions. Emotions can be irrational, and as changeable as the weather. How many times have you made a decision in anger, and came to regret it later on?
Listening to your gut instincts, usually means you have the feeling that something will happen. This could be based on nothing at all such as thinking that the phone is about to ring, and then it does, or it could be based on an urgency to avoid danger e.g. not trusting a totally stranger. Gut feelings are what links us to our primal selves. For example, making a snap ‘fight-or-flight’ decision. They are based on a time when survival was your only goal.
So, which is the best ‘voice’ to listen to? Those who make the best decision will usually employ all three to form an answer, or a plan. Each one has a different part to play.
Intellectual/ head decision making can override the potentially bad emotional/ heart based want to do something. Intuitive/ gut decision making can help you actually determine if you want to do something. What I mean by this is, those niggling feeling that persists, e.g. ‘I know that it was right to tell XYZ the truth, but I can’t help but think this will come back to haunt me.’
After everything said, you have to make sure that you make decisions that you can stand by the consequences of your actions; that you can live with the outcome.