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Trust Your Intuition for Making Important Decisions

2016 Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme Selectee and Musanga Logistics CEO & Co-Founder Njavwa Mutambo

January 9, 2019//-If you are an entrepreneur and trying to build a startup, it is important to have high conviction in yourself and trust your instincts.

When you decide to start a new business, make a solid plan and do not get swayed by other people’s opinions. Once you come up with a plan, just execute it. Follow your intuition.

Many new entrepreneurs get tempted to take a lot of opinions from a lot of people. No one knows about what you want to achieve with your startup and your life. Everyone will give advice based on their own world views.

There is not a single person in this world who can give you advice on what exactly you should do in life, because only you know what you really want. And to get what you want, you have to follow the path guided by your intuition.

People refer to this as following your heart, or gut. The truth is, there is no other body part making decisions for you except your brain. But the brain has a conscious mind as we know it, but a super powerful sub-conscious mind that we often forget about.

When we use words like “going by the gut” or “following the heart”, what we are really meaning is that we have to trust the decision made by our subconscious mind by taking in so many inputs that you conscious mind cannot handle.

Our conscious mind is not great at decision making. It can process language, do tasks, yield to the demands of the emotional and physical brain from time to time, but it is hard to trust your conscious mind to make important decisions, in a short period of time.

If you have to make a very important decision that will change the path of your future, you can never sit and think for it a few hours and come up with a perfect decision with logic. Our conscious mind doesn’t work like that.

In our brain, each neuron is connected to 1000 other neurons, and decision making is done at a very deep level by the subconscious mind when we are in a flow state or when are asleep. That’s why the term “sleep on it” is still around.

When you go to sleep, you let your sub-conscious mind process all the available inputs and come up with a decision. When you go ahead with the decision, you will just “feel right” about it. That’s your intuition at work.

Learn to tap into this vast resource of intelligence. As you get into the habit of trusting to your instincts, your life will change for the better.

As startup entrepreneurs, we have to come up with a lot of decisions through the week. Firing a client, hiring an employee, making an investment decision, choosing the right marketing campaign and the list keeps going on.

I am not undermining the importance of hard facts. I trust data over God as many people do. In fact, I take facts and data from people all the time to augment my decision making. When you have data, let the decision making be driven by data.

Intuition is not a substitute for analyzing data. However, for a lot of important decisions, you will not have any data to make decisions with. Many important decisions like choosing a name for your product, getting the product designed the way you want, hiring certain people and giving them important responsibilities and the list of things like this is endless in a startup.

For all decisions that don’t have supporting data, you need to go with your instincts. A startup moves as fast as its decisions. And the best way to make right decisions fast and keep moving forward is to trust your instincts.

You need to get into that habit if you haven’t made tough decisions in life before. It might feel frightening to make important decisions without facts. And entrepreneurs get tempted to talk about it with everyone around them. Some people even ask advice from their spouse and parents. Such behaviour only makes the startup journey more difficult.

Do not try to come up with a logic for every decision you make in your startup journey. Sometimes, the decision of the founder cannot be put down on a map. If it feels right, go ahead with it and do not look back.

People who know what they want, take decisions quickly and stick with it. If their decision has to change, they take a long time to change, only after a thorough review. People who do not know what they want, take a long time to make decisions and they change it very quickly when some suggests them otherwise.

The ability to make good decisions comes from knowing clearly what you want, and having the discipline to do what is required to get what you want. As you get more experienced in listening to your instincts, and as you get to trust it more over time, you would be able to make mega decisions in the future, but tapping into your inner voice.

You can never go wrong listening to yourself. You will end up being proved right, or you will learn a hard lesson. You will own your decision.

People who make decisions based on other’s opinions end up failing and they blame others for their results. They waste their time, spoil their relationships and don’t learning anything.

So the next time you have a tough decision to make, take some time off, and don’t force yourself to think about it. Once you give it some time, you will just know what to do, and you should have the courage to do it, without backing up the decision with facts.

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