I have been reviewing more social psychology research, specifically social influence with regard to how differing factors manipulate our gambling behaviour. My last article: 'I followed that horse off a cliff' highlighted how we may be assigned to a troubled path because consistency and commitment may negatively influence our daily routine. Psychologists call this a click
and whir response as it often happens so naturally we rarely notice it.
However, if we have the psychological understanding to appreciate what is happening then we may posses a tool of advantage or at least consider our actions more objectively - weighing up the pros and cons.
You will be surprised to read that something has been trying to tell you all was not well for a long time. But you missed the signs. Now you may think this is a load of hippie mumbo jumbo and at any moment Scott McKenzie is going to jump out singing San Fransisco (Be Sure To Wear Flowers in Your Hair). But you should really start listening to your body!
How many times have you had a gut feeling that something just isn't quite right? It might be someone cold calling trying to sell you a set of expensive encyclopedia after asking whether you think as a good parent that every child deserves the best education, or - God forbid - a volunteer wants to put a PLEASE DRIVE CAREFULLY sign on your front lawn.
How many times have you been about to place a bet when you get a 'feeling' that something isn't quite right? That unnerving feeling which makes you question what you are doing. (I know some people will say they get that all the time!) It's often so fleeting, neglected or in many cases unrecognisable that we simply carry on regardless. However, psychological research by Murphy & Zajonc (1993) indicates that we experience our feelings towards something a split second before we can intellectualize about it.
The hippie mumbo jumbo is true.
Not only should you listen to your gut but most certainly your heart. However, all is not lost. Research indicates that if we are attentive, we can train ourselves to register the feeling ever so slightly before our cognitive apparatus engages. You may consider that such a feeling is so fleeting that we have little time to consider it - to become attentive! The beauty of such an appreciation is that all we need to do is ask ourselves the same question again. Remember this question must be personal to you and can be about anything that has meaning or significance.
To all purposes it is a sixth sense.
My question might be: 'Is this a good bet? And listen to what those feelings are telling me. But, in truth, it could be anything. The power of the unconscious mind is immense and shouldn't be underestimated. Incredibly, it processes some twenty million environmental stimuli per second compared with only forty environmental stimuli interpreted by the conscious mind.
Take care to listen to that first flash of feeling just before it is hidden by our varied motivations. It may take some time to get in tune with this new found friend, but he/she is certainly worth listening to.
The next time you get a feeling something just doesn't seem right - ask yourself that all important question and listen!