My parasite this past year knocked me down for a bit. Knocked me over physically for sure, although the day after leaving the ER I was back to work. I’m crazy and dedicated like that. Plus, the work just needed to get done. Trust me, if I hadn’t done the work there really were not that many other people that could take over. In that sense, it is a sad state of work affairs. The lack of redundancy and requiring more and more from people is just making for a sicker workforce overall. However, I digress a wee bit.
There are those times when we feel poor and without much. However, there is one thing that we all carry around with us that makes us rich. That is out gut-our intuition.
The only real valuable thing is intuition – Albert Einstein
Our gut will give us a tingle to alert us as to what is right and wrong for us. We need to be more in turned with that aspect of our bodies. Sometimes we are so distracted by all the new innovations that technology and social media have brought us that we forget about that little part inside of us that can guide us on the right path.
Most of my major life decisions were guided by the hand of my gut. My decision to go to boarding school, to live abroad, to go the particular college I chose-those were all gut driven. I made no lists. I made spontaneous decisions in the moment that set off long chain of events. My gut in those early-life decisions told me to get away and set about charting a new path. Indeed I did. My gut at one point told me to quit my job and pursue my PhD. Indeed I did. My gut told me to quit another job and to go cross-country for a third time. Indeed I did. Each time, each gut-led move set me on new and higher paths. It did not steer me wrong.
However, there come times when you think that maybe the head should be given a chance to make a few decisions. I have made pro and con lists. They can be useful. But said lists only serve to put onto paper what your gut is driving you towards. what you write out as a pro and con is not really coming from a pre-determined best practices sheet list. Those lists are coming from deep inside. As fellow social psychologist (albeit way more famous and rich) Malcolm Gladwell noted in his book Blink: The Power of Thinking without thinking -“Insight is not a lightbulb that goes off inside our heads. It is a flickering candle that can easily be snuffed out.”
This past year, my gut steered me a little wrong. I made a bad decision when caught between picking between two unknown choices in a work project. How did I go wrong? I listened to other people’s advice. I kept saying I needed to listen to my gut but allowed myself to be steered by other people’s supposed reasoned choices and lists. That was just so wrong. As Kim Bassinger noted in an interview once “I feel there are two people inside me – me and my intuition. If I go against her, she’ll screw me every time, and if I follow her, we get along quite nicely” She was probably referring to her marriage to Alec Baldwin as an example of not listening to her gut and getting screwed over. Anyway, yes, two people inside of us. Although there shouldn’t be. Me and my intuition should be one and the same. Yet, we all know that is not always the case.
To me the modern work world tries to squash our intuition. There is a checklist for this and a checklist for that. Not saying protocols are not needed. Most definitely there are some people and job functions that should not be steered by intuition but should be guided by well known precedent. However, our guts are not given much of a role in many situations. Someone else always knows better. It might seem odd or even bad form to rely on one’s gut in many workplaces. Let’s be real even Goggle -the supposed bastion of creativity in the workplace-will not ok a million dollar project based on just gut alone. These work places still look towards the data sets that project and forecast money and fortune to be made off a project. I am sure you have been in meetings were over-analyzed and at times incorrectly analyzed and not understood even. That’s the thing, I believe in data and I believe in the gut. At some point if you are wise enough the two shall converge. I would never say to discount data. Patterns exists for a reason. If you know how to interpret data correctly (without bias) they can help provide your gut with the information it needs to jump into the decision-making fray. It’s a lovely tango dance.
Back to this past summer. I got a parasite. A fairly nasty one at that. That parasite came at the same time that I was trying to figure out how to steer my life going forward. It was a cruel joke that the universe was playing on me. Knocking out my gut-getting ridding of all my good bacteria- right when I needed it. My gut was down and out and my head couldn’t wrap itself around the situation. As a result I put a lot of effort into this big work project. I did a good job. Three months of pure mental power and a great product as a result. Now, though, my head and gut need to resync and reach a symbioic relationship. I have been taken probiotics. I have been eating my daily yogurt. Setting my internal gut and bacteria back onto a healthy state.
A steady hand can guide many actions. It is the gut that readies that hand and the mind that controls it. Yes, the gut is just as important a body “organ” as any other. Every once in a while, the gut needs to be checked and nurtured and made sure to be well and healthy. Even with all the technology that is out there feeding our minds with information and mega data, the gut has a role. As John Naisbitt noted “Intuition becomes increasingly valuable in the new information society precisely because there is so much data”.
Yes, trust the gut even with a parasite in the midst.