An old boss of mine once said to me “the only thing your gut can tell you is if you are ready for dinner”.  His view was that decision making should include only facts, things that can be proven, repeated and verified.  I think he may have been right, except that it is not always possible to have all the facts, to prove everything and to remove 100% of the risk.

So when you can’t prove everything but you still need to make a decision, it’s time to give your gut a little freedom to add to the discussion. Your gut, more politely known as intuition, is the accumulation of your life experience used to guide you for future situations.  It’s what tells you to leave early on a rainy day as the road is more likely to busy, it certainly can’t provide actual proof (which you won’t get until you are on the road) you could pretty safely rely on your intuition to guide you.

So given your choice which would you rely on when making decisions, fact or intuition? Facts are things that have happened and therefore are accurate, so their use in decision making is essential but facts can only guide you when it comes to the future.  Our ability to make great decisions is often based on the conclusions we draw from facts, in effect the use of our intuition to understand things that have happened in the past and to forecast how those facts will play out in the future.

So which is best, fact or intuition? The answer must surely be both, the use of facts to guide our thinking and the use of intuition to draw conclusions from those facts – so yes indeed your gut (when put to good use) can tell you much more than whether or not you are ready for dinner.

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Written by Lisa Smith

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Lisa is a professional thinker dedicated to helping people unlock their innate creativity and to empower them to think differently – for themselves. She is passionate about building innovative cultures and about harnessing and engaging talent to create thinking communities. Lisa holds an MBA, specialising in organisational change and innovation, which forms the nucleus of her work. She relishes opportunities to share the Minds at Work thinking strategies with government bodies, socially responsible corporate, educators, community groups and farmers, helping them to turn their big ideas into realities.