Decisions are a difficult part of life, and life is a never-ending conveyor belt of choices. This can be invigorating or depleting, depending on our state of mind, our immediate environment, and what dreams and aspirations remain humming in our subterranean depths.
Instinct plays an important part in good decision-making, but our instinct can easily get muddled up by the incessant voice of our rationale, or eroded to near extinction by the wrong people. If we loose faith in our ability to trust our instinct our self-esteem suffers, and precious time is wasted tottering on a precipice of self-doubt and indecision, instead of moving with confidence down our life path.
When I was young decisions didn’t seem so ponderous. I assessed, I listened to my inner self, and leapt in faith. If I was tuned in, it paid off. If I was unduly influenced by another’s agenda or reason, I stuffed up. But subconsciously I had a fall back plan. There was time on my side, if I got it wrong, there was always tomorrow, and the day after that, in which to get back on track.
Now I am older and face an important decision. On the one side is the unknown, a roll of the dice, on the other, financial security, and the means to indulge my love of travel, but at a considerable price. I vacillate, I totter on the abyss, at times I question if simple world-weariness and laziness are clouding my judgement and masquerading as instinct.
Reason is going all out to win. He has marshaled a street parade complete with platoons of probability, plausibility and odds … responsibility, duty and fear … all marching round and round my head. Amid the clatter of their boots and chants I must remind myself that instinct is not the ‘pie in the sky’ reason would have me believe. It is not an ‘airy fairy’ ‘doesn’t know anything’ voice.
Instinct is not the direct opposite of reason’s pragmatic logic. For instinct collates facts alongside the subtle nuances of thought we store in our subconscious, and takes into account our desires, hopes and dreams. In the final analysis instinct has a better grasp of what’s ultimately right for us, trumping reason by acknowledging our human complexity.
Every day we face decisions. No decision is absolutely wrong or right. Each takes us further on the journey we choose. I am prompted to heed Katharine Hathaway’s warning that a life governed by fear results in a life that is, ‘safe, expedient and thin’. An inner voice asks, ‘why settle for less when there is the possibility of living a deeply fulfilling life at the highest altitude I can manage’?
I think Emerson had it right when he said ‘we should ‘trust [our] instinct to the end’ …