Without getting all Leroy Jethro Gibbs here … is there any other way to make a decision when you have no hard facts with which to work? It sounds right, doesn’t it?

Except when Gibbs does it, the entire agency agrees. When I do it, no one ever agrees.

If you’re a mother and you know your kid is “off,” you take him or her to the doctor. You don’t wait until the strep throat or whatever it is shows up with full symptoms. The doctor promptly tells you he can’t see any problem. You go home. The kid is a mess the next day.

Let’s hear it for instinct!

You hear a noise in your car’s engine. A funny little squeaky noise which comes and goes. Do you wait for the serpentine belt to snap or take it to a mechanic? You take it in. They look. They shrug.

A few days later, the transmission falls out. Instinct! Gotta love it.

The meteorologists on the television are predicting a few inches of snow, but your bones are screaming “it’s a big one on the way.” Do you ignore your instinct and believe the guy on TV? Or lay in some supplies, fill the car with gasoline, and bring the candles out … just in case. I mean, what the hell. A few extra items in the house won’t hurt, right?

If I have data to work with (better yet, if I had Data to work with), I’ll work with it or him. But through most of real life, we have no facts. We have instinct, experience, “gut feelings.” And a kind of prescience that comes with years of making judgment calls, dealing with emergencies … a kind of “know when to hold’em, know when to fold’em” sort of thing. Unfortunately, the doctors, mechanics, bosses, friends, colleagues et al? They don’t. They just think we are a bit strange. And remarkably, no matter how many times we are proved to be right? Nothing changes.

The next time you just know what’s going to happen? Everyone will completely ignore you. Totally.

So when you get that deep, gut feeling, the one which tells you a catastrophe is on the way? Run around. Tell everyone. They will completely ignore you. BUT you can enjoy a chance to tell everyone that ” SEE? I TOLD YOU SO!” and they will say, “Yeah, yeah. Right. Uh huh.”

Most decisions in life are gut decisions. Instinct on the hoof. If only someone would occasionally agree with us.

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Writer, photography, blogger. Previously, technical writer. I am retired and delighted to be so. May I live long and write frequently.

21 thoughts on “INSTINCT – GOING WITH THE GUT”

      1. It may be too late on some things, but you and LJ are right – trust your gut. I did it in my professional life. Shudda done it in my personal life more often.


  1. Right, I know you are right, it is a feeling I have that you are right. I am also always right, the problem being that often I am not believed to be right, because there is always someone here (not to mention names) that is always more right than I am, so I give up. I don’t even say “told you so” because it will only be the beginning of another lengthy conversation (and not in english).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Cars. I have an uncanny instinctual ability to diagnose car problems correctly and yeah; mechanics DON’T believe me. Of course they make more money by NOT believing me so I have a feeling…


    1. With car mechanics, you may be right. With doctors, I think it’s that they can’t treat something for which they have no evidence. Except once. We had lost four cats in two weeks to a powerful (new) outbreak of distemper. We had one little kitty left. When we brought him to the vet, he said “Any other cat, I’d say there is nothing wrong. But given your recent history, I’m going to act like this cat is dying.”

      And THAT kitten survived. The only one that lived.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Our ancestors had guts before they had brains. The gut has it’s own neural network that links to the ‘newcomer’ via the Vagus nerve.

    We should all learn to trust (y)our gut! 🙂



    1. I think a lot of our “gut” reactions are not really “gut reactions.” They are bits of knowledge we’ve gleaned from a variety of experiences that we’ve clipped together. We really are NOT going on “nothing.” We just can’t always explain what we know.


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