How to trust your gut and make a decision
People often try to apply rational logic and data to infer the best option when making a decision. If you’re doing this, you’re looking for patterns using what you’ve seen in the past to predict a decision’s outcome, Eyal Lifshitz writes.
This approach isn’t always effective, however.
For entrepreneurs and startups forging new paths, there may not be enough data to inform the best decision. Historical patterns may not repeat themselves in the same way they did before. The past may be a poor indicator of what’s to come.
When, then, should you trust your gut?
In some situations, as when there isn’t enough data available to guide you, you’ll simply have to. And even when data is available, your gut may push you to embrace other factors before you make a decision. Often, it’s worth paying attention to that feeling, especially if you’re hoping for a big payoff.
Consider introducing a new product, for instance. If there isn’t precedent for how people will react to it, your instincts should be a significant component of your decision-making. Even with all of the data in the world, you won’t know how people will react to something novel.
It can be risky to make an instinctual choice in an uncertain economy, so make sure your business is ready to accept the risk. But when the risk is big, the reward can be, too.
Remember that choosing the right path for your company isn’t formulaic. You can’t go with your gut all of the time, but neither can you always trust data alone. The right decisions are usually a combination of both data and instincts.
But in times of uncertainty, like the one many people find themselves in today, it’s especially important that you listen to the inner voice guiding you towards what’s best. ■