Going with your gut instinct or inner voice is a tactic that people often use to make decisions but sometimes our gut does lie to us. How do we know when it does? Here are some indications;
Our decisions often come from formative voices in our lives from the time we were children, from parents, teachers, coaches and other caregivers. This inner voice however sometimes doesn’t make the right decision and soothes your ego by making excuses about past bad decisions.
The inner voice
“It’s very disturbing when you realise that our brains are a fiction-making machine. We make up all kinds of crazy things to help us feel better and to justify the decisions we’ve made. The inner voice is the one who arbitrates a lot of that manoeuvring around the truth, so we have to be very careful. It’s a master storyteller and far more important than you may realise,” said Dr Jim Loehr, a performance psychologist and co-founder of the Human Performance Institute.
Emotions and feelings can also affect your inner voice. Emotions stem from survival-oriented regions of the brain, primarily happening in the amygdala which regulates the fight or flight response. Feelings, however, develop over time from life experience. Emotions and feelings may not be rational. For example, if a colleague gets a promotion and you want it, you may feel envy but if your legacy is that of humility you can take control of your inner voice and channel your emotions into a more positive place.
How do you train your inner voice to give you the correct feedback and thereby impact your decision-making so your instincts become spot on and you make the right decision. This seven lens process helps you to analyze your thoughts and decisions (extracted from FastCompany)
- Be your best self: Write down words when you are operating at your absolute best especially when you are under stress. This is who you are most proud of. Be empathetic, grateful and caring.
- Best moral self: Write down words that describe your moral and ethical beliefs. This helps how you treat others
- Life purpose: Describe your main reason for living; your purpose in life.
- Tombstone legacy: This lens describes how you want to be perceived by people. How you want people to remember you after you’ve gone. You would want people to think of you as kind, courageous and humble.
- Core values and beliefs: Write down two of your most important values in life. This is how you show up and carry yourself throughout.
- Personal credo: Create a phrase that will be your roadmap for having a successful life.
- Ultimate mission in life: Write down your mission. For example, “I strive to treat everyone with respect”
This seven lens process helps you to analyze your thoughts and decisions and hopefully that way your inner voice becomes reliable and trustworthy and not just impulsive and backed by ego soothing decisions.