I believe in following your bliss, doing what you love, all of it… It’s huge. Vital. Exciting.
I used to make these really snap judgements that some things were “not for me.”
Do you do that? Have you done it… and then wondered if you didn’t consider it enough?
I’d lean on instinct, say that I just dont feel it, wouldn’t explore it further… and then, strikingly, I would always be “seeking” this ideal that I just knew was out there in some way…and not finding it.
While some snap judgements are clear- that very bad or really good feeling you just can’t ignore- I’d say my own instant “this is not for me” judgements on things I feel pretty neutral about have been… re-thought a whole lot.
In fact, as I’m headed to New York this morning I am struck by the number of things I’m doing now- and opportunities I’m grateful I’ve actualy taken- that I initially said “No” to… in fact, many that I thought were “not for me” at first glance.
Do you quickly decide if something is or isn’t for you before you explore it at bit?
The science about this is very interesting!
In the realm of love, it turns out that our “list” of attributes of the perfect person have little to do with who we find ourselves attracted to in reality. In other words, what we think is perfect for us is actually sometimes nothing like what we predicted. We might be totally taken by someone who shares absolutely none of the attributes we want… and we may dismiss the person who is our dream come true ideal.
Psychology Today breaks down this awesome conundrum in the article When It Comes To Love, Is What You Want What You Get?:
“A body of research suggests that in first face-to-face encounters, our ideal partner preferences have little to do with our romantic desire (Eastwick et al., 2013). Once we’re in the physical presence of a potential partner, how well they match (or mismatch) our preferences fails to reliably predict our initial interest.
In other words, when we initially meet someone, our level of romantic interest in that person is independent of our standards. We might find ourselves attracted to Joe, despite his actual poor fit with what we’re looking for, and we might have no immediate interest in Jason, even though he’s actually a fantastic match based on our ideal mate preferences and would be a great long-term partner.”
From all this I marvel at how uninterested I was, or simply neutral I was, toward some of the greatest loves of my life when I first met them. It’s not really romantic to think that it’s not about “love at first sight” but this is a cool concept. It may be worth giving people a chance before dismissing them as “not for me.”
In the realm of business, your instinct is super-valuabe… but so is thought.
After looking at the string of successes I’ve had that I intially turned down, said NO to in a snap judgement… and then felt I acted to quick in my judgement… I am a big fan of the philosophy of really considering things.
A fascinating article in Harvard Business Review discusses the idea of leaning on BOTH your instinct (snap judgements) as well as really comprehensive logic to make big decisions.
“The most dangerous of these flaws, when it comes to intuition, is our deep-seated need to see patterns. The mind’s well-documented facility for pattern recognition seems to lie at the very core of intuition—it’s how the brain synthesizes information from the past and uses it to understand the present and anticipate the future. But it can get us into trouble. Researchers have shown that our unconscious desire to identify patterns is so strong that we routinely perceive them where they don’t in fact exist. When confronted with a new phenomenon, our brains try to categorize it based on our previous experiences, to fit it into one of the patterns stored in our memories. The problem is that, in making that fit, we inevitably filter out the very things that make the new phenomenon new—we rush to recycle the reactions and solutions from the past.
That instinct, seemingly hardwired into our thinking by evolution, is extremely useful in life-or-death situations where fine distinctions are irrelevant. If you were a caveman and had seen strange animals maul other cavemen in the past, then it would probably be wise for you to flee from any strange animal you happened to come across—even if you’d never seen the beast before. The benefit of a careful analysis of the situation would be far outweighed by the risk of inaction. But managers are not cavemen. In complex business situations, fine distinctions do matter—often, they’re precisely what separates success from failure. If you try to interpret a competitive threat or market upheaval by simply squeezing it into an old pattern, you’re likely to miss what makes it different—and take the wrong action. Intuition is a means not of assessing complexity but of ignoring it. That’s valuable if you’re a firefighter in a burning building or a soldier on a battlefield. It’s not valuable if you’re an executive faced with a pressing decision about investing millions in a new product for a rapidly changing market.” (whole article here)
I’m telling you, I’m very lucky I got to “take back” my intital judgements of “not for me” in so many ways. Now, instead of counting on people letting me “take back” my intital no… I actually feel (and see) things out for a while.
So, if you have some decisions to make, or you’re expanding life, meeting new people, trying lots of new things… it may be worth having an open mind, learning about people and places and jobs and opportunities, and then deciding based on both feeling and exploring?! xoxo Dana
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