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When intuition outsmarts logic

Posted in the following categories: Decision Making, Life Lessons

“I think we should leave,” I told my wife Kathy.

It was our fifth day at Burning Man, the renowned annual gathering of 80,000 people in the Nevada desert.

Burning Man isn’t just another festival. It’s where reality and dreams merge, neon lights accentuate surreal art installations, and people shed societal conventions, celebrating life in its rawest form. (New York, think you never sleep? At one point, I was deep in slumber at Burning Man when a 6 am house beat vibrated my glasses off their resting place, smacking me right in the face!).

Experiencing this festival for the first time, our initial days were nothing short of mind-blowing.

Yet, by Friday, an undeniable gut feeling struck me: It’s time to leave.

Old me would have drowned that feeling with a flood of “shoulds”:
“You should stay for the whole experience.”
“You should get your money’s worth.”
“You shouldn’t be so impulsive.”

But on that day, I trusted my gut. Kathy felt a similar pull. Acting on it, we made our way out of the playa.

As we left, the sky darkened, hinting at an impending storm. About an hour after we departed, relentless rain turned the ground to thick mud, leaving tens of thousands of people stranded in the desert.

Had we ignored that gut feeling, we’d be among them. Instead, I’m sitting here, in the comfort of our Portland home, writing these words. (My heart goes out to everyone who was affected. True to their spirit, burners showcased their resilience and positivity, weathering not just the physical storm but the emotional one as well).

This story isn’t just about me, or even about Burning Man.

It’s about honoring those inexplicable moments where your gut, your intuition, tells you something that your mind doesn’t understand.

You might have had those moments. Maybe you’ve felt, deep down, that a job isn’t right for you, even though it looked perfect on paper. Perhaps you met someone for the first time and felt an inexplicable connection or caution. Or, like me, you felt the need to leave a place without any “logical” reason to do so.

In today’s hyper-rational world, where every decision is expected to be backed by data or logic, trusting one’s intuition seems revolutionary. But how many times have you ignored that inner voice, only to realize later that it had been right all along?

Our instincts can capture nuances that our conscious minds might overlook. Listening to those instincts doesn’t mean neglecting your mind. Instead, it’s about harmonizing the two, recognizing that sometimes the body knows what the mind can’t explain.

Now you might read this and think, “You got lucky. It could’ve turned out to be sunshine and rainbows after you left. You could have missed out on a transformative sunrise DJ set or a serendipitous meeting with a future best friend.”

To that, I say this: It’s not about the outcome. It’s about honoring and valuing that inner voice, giving it the space to express itself.

So, the next time that unexplainable gut feeling strikes, don’t ignore it or push through it. Explore it. Dive deep into its essence.

Because it’s not just about avoiding storms.

It’s about dancing to your inner playlist, letting each beat guide you exactly where you need to go.

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