🍣 Your gut is glorious
And what planning, parenting and pilates have in common.
Let’s share some notes, shall we?
Your gut is glorious
I was recently on’s newsletter for an interview to talk about planning and a bunch of other things, which was a tremendous blast to respond to.
I definitely you recommend you check it out in full and subscribe to Florian’s newsletter, but here’s a bit i feel proud of, on how to balance data and gut feeling:
“This is a bit like the current discussions around AI and ChatGPT and all that. Does data matter? Sure. Does data make your decisions for you? Only if you’re not very good at your job. Of course, data is how you back yourself and your arguments and help explain to a business why you’re doing the things you do, but if we were to attach a proportion to it, i’d say lean on at least a 50/50 split between the numbers and the narrative you want to make out of them. Because that’s one of the most misunderstood parts of ‘data-driven’, it’s that there’s so many ways of cutting and interpreting a data set that, really, it only feels objective, there’s still quite subjective decision making at play. So at the risk of sounding boring as hell… yeah, both. Gut feeling is an interesting one though, and i feel like as you get more senior it becomes more important because you actually have had enough time to spot patterns, and that in turn gives you more confidence to take a leap without having all the evidence.”
Quoting myself in my own newsletter aside, i started looking at a bunch of notes i had and realising i’ve had a healthy obsession with what gut feeling is about for a while.
And in those notes, i started getting strong extra vibes from others on how we think, and perhaps the strongest organising thought for the whole thing is this:
“I used to know things intellectually, but now I feel them.” Ryuichi Sakamoto
Which captures it perfectly, in that there are things you know in the brain and then things you simply know in the – you guessed it – gut.
Gut feeling, in that sense, is not a cop out in that you’re doing something out of lack of evidence, in fact it might just be that part of that evidence is all the pattern recognition you’ve done in the past.
As Mark Pollard says, conversations with others and things you see and things you feel are data too (or something within that camp).
But while that makes it handy for problem solving in business, it turns out knowing your own gut feeling can also have strong implications for your physical health.
Enter one of my favourite authors on the subject, Gabor Maté:
“Is it possible that the pains you get reflect something else you haven’t been paying attention to? Rather than seeing the pains as a problem, perhaps they really are gut feelings that are telling you something.”
And, still from Dr. Maté:
“Gut feelings magnify perceptions that the emotional centres of the brain find important and relay through the hypothalamus. Pain in the gut is one signal the body uses to send messages that are difficult for us to ignore. Thus, pain is also a mode of perception.”
Pain is a mode of perception. Poetry, that is.
But really, pain as a mode of perception, and perception coming through not just in your head but also in your belly, is a powerful concept for us all to grasp, especially if you – like me – have the occasional (or not so occasional) episodes of IBS, or general discomfort and digestive problems and all that, or just the tingling sensation that something isn’t quite right and you can’t quite work it out just yet.
A food problem, a thinking (finking?) problem, or a feelings problem?
Well, perhaps, all of it because silos are boring and integration is sexy as hell:
“Heart, guts, and brain communicate intimately via the ‘pneumogastric’ nerve, the critical nerve involved in the expression and management of emotions in both humans and animals.” Bessel van der Kolk
And to round it off, from the consistently excellent Emma Reed Turrell, on why the pains and odd feelings we have right now might be rooted in past perceptions:
“It won’t just be the pain we feel in the present; its roots will be in a pain that we have felt before.”
Such it is in your body, as it is in business.
Next up, more paid subscriber exclusive shizzle…
Why measurement is like plumbing
Your energy is currency, so invest wisely
Staying still is a skill, plus a lovely little graphic
And what pilates has taught me about planning and parenting, or perhaps the other way around
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