The science of gut feelings

Many seasoned leaders rely on their 'gut feeling' when making high-risk, high stakes decisions. Contemporary science now understands that there is a 'hidden sense' behind this intuition. Leadium's Sharon Longridge interviewed Dr Kelly Mahler on how the 'embodied mind' impacts many facets of leadership, including decision making. 

The modern world is impressively uncertain and complex. While we might have "prediction addiction" as Margaret Heffernan says in her latest book Unchartered: How to Map the Future Together we can't rely on exhaustive data analysis, AI or machine learning to accurately forecast the future1. The reality is that history doesn't always repeat itself so decision-making can't rely solely on logic, analysis, modelling or past events. 

Fortunately, we are equipped with an ever-present, yet little discussed sensory tool to help us navigate life's complexity. Research, author and Occupational Therapist Dr Kelly Mahler says that we are better at making lightning-fast decisions when we are attuned to the subtle and changing sensations in your body,

"People that have greater levels of interoceptive awareness, that listen to their body more, are able to make quicker decisions, more effective decisions on the spot."


Find out more about the science of interoception in the Embodied Leadership episode of the Leadium Podcast.   


1.Unchartered: How to Map the Future Together. M Heffernan, 2020 


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