Refining your gut reaction with data

I had a gut reaction about an event recently which led me to assume that the event hadn’t gone as well as I’d hoped. So, I said that aloud before looking at the feedback.

It turned out the feedback was great.

So, I spent some more time thinking about the difference between my instinctual judgment and reality and soon developed a couple of hypotheses for why I’d been wrong.

Such moments are important learning moments. And, while it is important to make the time to reflect on these, I’ve come to realize that the most important thing to do is to explicitly make a guess – either do it aloud to ourselves or to someone else.

When we skip that step, we have a way of changing the narrative/lying to ourselves – “Yeah, that’s the conclusion I was heading toward as well.” But, saying it aloud makes it hard to do that.

And, that in turn gives us the opportunity to use the data as feedback to keep refining our gut reactions.