How often do you trust your gut? How often do you ignore it? Science is proving why it's a good bet to trust it.
Your gut may be telling you not to take that deal. But you need the business so you do it anyway. Three months later you're wishing you'd listened to that internal voice. The client is driving you nuts with specials. You're watching your already slim profit margin disappear with every new demand.
Or maybe the phone rings. As your reach for it, you know it's your boss calling to check on that latest project. When you answer, you hear your boss' voice and have to smile.
Or it's one of those days when you're late for work. That voice says, "Take the side streets." You don't do it because it takes longer. As you head onto the freeway you see the brake lights spread out like a runway in front of you. Why didn't you listen?
These experiences are way more than mere coincidence. As we're now learning, that voice or feeling in your gut is simply your unconscious mind, taking care of you.
Implicit vs Explicit Memory
Science has discovered how that gut feeling actually works. It's called implicit memory.
What's an implicit memory? Well, first let's talk about explicit memory.
When our unconscious mind processes our sensory data, it selects 126 bits/second (from a stream of 11M bits/second) to send to our conscious minds. Our conscious logical mind explicitly focuses on that selected data for analysis, action and storage. It's explicit because we can consciously recall it.
As our unconscious mind filters that 11 M bits/second, it also implicitly stores additional data based on our interests (mindware programs), its interests (threats or instincts) and the current moment. This data is not attended to on a conscious level, but it's still processed. That means it's readily available to our unconscious minds to guide us about our real world experiences..
When our unconscious senses a situation where this implicit information is valuable -- it calls it up and shares it with our conscious mind. Our conscious mind hasn't previously processed this information, so it doesn't recognize it's source or correlation with other data.
That's why it's a gut feeling, an intuition. Our conscious mind can't find the facts to support it. It probably never saw those facts.
Even though our conscious can't track it doesn't mean it isn't real. In fact, this implicit data can be as powerful, or moreso, than our conscious reality.
Your Gut is Not Your Expertise
I recently wrote an article for Switch and Shift about the problem with expertise. In a nutshell, yes, we all need expertise and skills. It's when we begin to see ourselves as experts that we often cease to learn new things, seek new perspectives or need new options.That's because of our mindware programs.
You see, all that expertise we gather starts from a conscious set of explicit information around a specific subject matter. We then use that explicit information to create conscious mindware programs around that expertise.
That's very different from our gut feelings. Our gut feelings happen when our unconscious mind volleys a piece of implicit information over our mind -- divide and into our conscious minds. While some of those gut feelings may be somewhat related to our expertise, most of our intuition is based on information our unconscious minds preserved along the way.
The Bottom Line
Those hunches you have about your market, product, sales approach, go-to-market strategy, competitor and more are more than hunches. These insights are based on information your unconscious mind implicitly noticed and stored because you mindware decided it was important to you.
How often is that unconscious data more accurate than the conscious expertise or knowns that we so easily trust?
So, the next time your gut is trying to tell you something, you might want to listen.