Trust your feelings, Luke...

A couple of weeks ago I saw the original Star Wars for the first time in many years.  No, wait - scratch that.  I saw the updated, enhanced, "special edition" of Star Wars Episode 4: A New Hope.  Fine distinction, but coming from someone who saw this movie only slightly fewer times than George Lucas simply because he worked at the theater where it opened many (many, many) years ago, a valid one.  It doesn't bode well when you digress this much in the first few sentences, but then I digress (again).

What was my point?  Oh yeah, turning off your targeting computer and trusting your feelings. 

You see, there is a lesson to learn here.  We have built an over-reliance on not only technology, but also our own thought process that has in turn made it difficult to actually make decisions.  When Luke is piloting his X-Wing down the Death Star trench, Obi-Wan chides him to turn off his targeting computer and trust in his own instincts via the Force to destroy the space station.  Luke heeds the advice and saves the Rebel Alliance.  Roll end credits.

Duck - incoming life lesson!  Lately I have learned that I tend to over-think situations, which in turn have cost me opportunity.  I have allowed my inner targeting computer to churn the data around and as a result, when it told me to fire the speed of my life had taken me a few parsecs away from ventilation port.  My shot exploded harmlessly on the side of the port and with the TIE fighters breathing down my neck, I would not get another chance to shoot.

Wow, way to beat a metaphor to death.

The point is this - call it what you like, the 3 second principle or trusting your instincts or whatever, there is merit in making quick decisions.  You quickly assess a situation, you make a gut check and you go with your instinct.  I am going to illustrate the point with an opportunity I had that I almost lost because I "intellectualized" the process.  Yesterday was Beth's birthday, and today I wonder where my life would be without my having made the instinctual choice I did those years ago.

I was in the shallow end of the dating pool - the occasional trips to the deep end had resulted in near drowning, so I was in "rational" mode.  The couple of dating sites I was actively on would feed me daily matches which I would review and then dismiss for one reason or another.  One day, Beth came up in that list and I dismissed the match over a single phrase in her profile - she was not looking for someone "laid back" and while I am not a lethargic slug I would also not classify myself as an excitable dweeb.  I thought about her and in my mind I arrived at the conclusion that I was more "laid back" than she would like and therefore not a good match.  Case closed.

About a month later, she came up again.  Not once, but twice.  This time, I didn't intellectualize or over-think.  I simply sent her an email saying "define 'laid back'".  My instinct told me we were in line in a lot of ways based on our profiles, only this time I did not take the time to come up with reasons why I shouldn't do it.  I trusted my feelings, turned off my targeting computer and in time I destroyed the Death Star.

Oops.  I am not calling you the Death Star, honey.  The metaphor wasn't dead enough yet.

Well, here we are a few years later and I can't imagine my life without her.  She turned out to be infinity plus one better than her profile suggested, and I have a great family and life as a result of not over-thinking - more appropriately, because of what not over-thinking led to.  This is not to say that I always "shoot from the hip" - there are things in life which require planning and consideration.  But more often than not, we enter an "analysis paralysis" when faced with even the most simple of decisions because we want to consider the problem from every perspective.  And in that paralysis we get reacquainted with self-doubt, anxiety and all the other negative emotions that tell us we aren't good enough or that making a decision now would be a very bad idea.

Sure, there will be times I will fall on my face, but at least I am still going in the right direction when that happens.  And what I learn when I do will help sharpen my instincts so the next decision will have that much more experience behind it.