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How to know whether to trust your gut

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Today’s tip: Only trust your intuition in situations you’ve experienced before.

A gut feeling can be a valuable guide — but only at certain times. As Olivier Sibony, the author of You’re About to Make a Terrible Mistake!, explains on Marker, intuition is most reliable in “an environment of ‘high validity,’ in which the same causes generally tend to produce the same effects.”

“Firefighters or intensive care unit nurses, for instance, work in relatively high-validity environments,” Sibony writes. “This does not mean that the environment is without uncertainty or risk. It means that the environment provides valid cues about a situation. Observing buildings on fire or emergency room patients provides reliable information about what will soon happen to them.” Often, what feels like intuition is really just your brain tapping into accumulated knowledge.

So before deciding to go with your gut, ask yourself: Is this something you’re familiar with already? If not, you might be better served ignoring the feeling and thinking things through instead.

📚 More from Forge on making quick decisions:

How to Master the Korean Art of Snap Judgments
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How to Make the Right Choice Under Pressure
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Questions to Ask Before Trusting a Gut Feeling
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