Working backward from instincts

I took two quick decisions recently based on my instincts. They had differing levels of risk  and made me reflect on the process. Three things I took away.

First, I found myself thinking about the insight I’d shared from Rory Sutherland’s book about how we evolved to have a rational brain because rationality gave us the ability to explain our instinctual/emotional reactions. In this case, I was going through the exercise of trying to explain my decisions to myself (and a friend who I was in conversation with). It was fascinating to observe myself trying to back out the implicit reasoning.

Second, embedded in these instinctual actions was some interesting subconscious reasoning. If I had attempted to do all of this consciously, there is no way I’d have taken these decisions in time. So, it was fascinating to realize just how much our instincts process.

Third, it remains to be seen if my instincts were right. Time will tell how these work out. Regardless, there was a lot to learn from the process. For instance, there were a couple of things I’d like to tweak about how I acted on these instincts. So, even if that ends up causing one of them to backfire, I am at least glad I followed these instincts as I’ve regretted not following them a lot more than when I have actually followed them.

Learning is guaranteed either way.