‘Gut Feeling’ the secret advantage – are you in tune with it ?


The former FBI Director James Comey wrote ‘memos’ that served as a major ‘evidence’ of his dealings with President Trump during the infamously famous testimonial. So far, these memos are the only major ‘evidence’ that supports Comey’s side of the story. The most revealing thing about the memos was that Comey felt compelled to write them based on his GUT FEELING! Comey’s statements clearly implied that he had a bad feeling about Trump from the beginning and wanted to have contemporaneous records of their dealings in case things went south.

Comey wrote the first memo on January 6, 2017 only minutes after finishing his first meeting with the president-elect at Trump Tower in New York. Comey said in the written statement to the Senate Intelligence Committee that “Creating written records immediately after one-on-one conversations with Mr. Trump was my practice from that point forward,”. He further added “This had not been my practice in the past.”


These memos include a remarkably detailed account of each of his meetings and calls with Trump, including the crucial February 14, 2017 session in the Oval Office where Trump asked Comey to stop the FBI’s probe of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. And that is the conversation, that led lawmakers of both parties to accuse Trump of obstruction of justice.


It is noteworthy that, Comey’s GUT FEELING was RIGHT!


We witnessed an exemplary display of Emotional Intelligence skills by the former federal prosecutor during the two and a half hours of melodramatic back and forth by the Senate Intelligence Committee. Clearly his heightened level of ‘Self Awareness’ led him to trust his instincts which he rightly called his ‘Gut Feeling’, and his acute ‘social awareness skills’ that alerted him against something fishy. He displayed impeccable ‘Self management & Social Management skills’ when he appeared well composed, totally unruffled, and unrelenting while facing the probing men and women of the bureau.


Is Gut Feeling Real ?


‘Gut Feeling’ is a topic that is highly debated and looked at on the internet. Google gives over 11 million results on the topic in less 60 seconds! Gut feeling is arguably the familiar feeling that refers to the overused cliché "butterflies in the stomach”. The question then arises is that, does the random and intangible information conveyed by The Gut Feeling actually make sense & does it have any logic or scientific explanation?


Science behind Gut Feeling


In fact, underlying the sensation of ‘butterflies in stomach’ is frequently unnoticed web of neurons, lining our guts, that is so widespread that some scientists have named it our "second brain". This mass of neural tissue is filled with important neurotransmitters, and consists of coverings of neurons embedded in the walls of the long tube of our gut, and contains around 100 million neurons, which is more than in either the spinal cord or the peripheral nervous system. These neurons in the enteric nervous system help us understand the information stored in our gut and enable us to interpret the same as - gut feeling. So much, so that the wisdom of information collected during our lifelong learning is stored in this primitive circuitry.


Gut sense conveys data, though obscure, collective and intangible, it gives us collective information about a situation, a holistic understanding of a situation, such as whether a potential business partner would be trustworthy or not. That’s an important information, gathered in a very vague and indefinable form collectively called - ‘ intuition or gut feeling’!


Gut Feeling & Decision Making


‘Gut feeling' is an important element in decision-making among business leaders, even when plenty of data is available. Though people rely on both – evidence and intuition during decision making, since 'gut feeling' tends to be based on past experience it can be a helpful "warning sign" that something has gone wrong with the analysis.


As per Antonio Damasio, a neuroscientist at the University of Southern California and head of the Brain and Creativity Institute - “Rather than being opposed, emotion and reason are deeply interrelated: if you're going to make sound and rational decisions, you need to have first done prior accurate emotional processing. If you have done such processing, then your emotions accelerate your decision-making—in the form of intuitions, hunches, and gut feelings. ”


But, shall we simply follow our gut feeling when it comes to rational decision-making?


Well, at times we over generalize and associate pain/pleasure experienced in the past to similar objects or situations and may end up making decisions based on the same. As per Daniel Goleman “The best business decisions take into account all the numbers and facts on the table, and then something from beyond the table: the brain’s total understanding of a deal. Specifically, we need to sense our gut feeling.”


Great Leaders are increasingly self-aware, are able to understand and interpret their emotions efficiently, are intuitive, get gut feelings, derive information from life wisdom stored in neural circuitry and are able to make collective use of all the information in hand before making a decision.


In the current age, where we are inundated with information, and are often pressed against time to take decisions, being in tune with our intuitions by developing greater self-awareness can be highly advantageous and be a great strength in the moments of crisis!


- Preeti Dubey Founder, Director

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