Have you ever faced a tough decision and been given the advice to trust your gut? We tend to assume there is an unconscious but highly aware part of ourselves that intuitively knows the right answer. All we have to do is trust it. However, is that true?
According to a new book by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, called Don’t Trust Your Gut, the answer is no, especially if we want to be happy. In a recent interview article on Vox, journalist Sean Illing shares that “it’s wrong because our intuitions are often influenced by false impressions or dubious conventional wisdom.”
In a conversation with Stephens-Davidowitz, Illing asked him about which conditions are conducive to trusting your gut:
There have been these studies that show if you do something in a controlled environment, many times, then your intuition is able to sense things that it would be impossible to otherwise sense, such as a firefighter who can sense that there’s a fire even before it reaches conscious awareness or is visible.
So I think there are times where our gut can be useful. But I think our gut is massively overrated.
Later on in the interview, the discussion turns to the connection between our gut reactions and happiness. Stephens-Davidowitz says about recent studies on the topic:
And they found all these things like, socializing, being with friends: really, really important. Being with your romantic partner: really, really important. Many of us think that we’re gonna have a good time if we just lie on our couch and browse the internet, or go on social media or play an iPhone game. And the data, when you actually ask people doing that, they tend to say they’re not particularly happy doing that.