Monday, November 1, 2010

The Power of Trusting Your Instinct

A couple of weeks ago, I was sitting in a coffee shop and I happened to notice a presentation that a gentleman was working on.

This was a guy who was a regular in this coffee shop.  No matter what time I stopped by, he was always there, sitting in the same seat, working on various presentations.  Lots of people write presentations in coffee shops.  However, his presentation was different.

In his PowerPoint presentation, he was writing about how non-Muslims are cattle and don’t deserve to live.  He also wrote a number of other things about how to solve the problem of so much “cattle”. I was intrigued and concerned so I made it my business to keep peeking over his shoulder to see what he was doing. 

What he wrote is not important here although it was clearly disturbing.  It was also clearly not an academic paper or a piece of fiction – this man was filled with a lot of anger and was capturing it in a manner to be shared with others, to encourage anger in them as well.

Their intention and their desired outcome was not good at all.

I reflected on this as the events transpired – what should I do?

After all, we are taught that everyone has the right to freedom of expression.

We are taught that everyone has the right to privacy.

We are taught to not make an invalid assumption that could hurt someone.

We are taught to mind our own business.

However, as I watched what he was writing, I realized something else.

He was against our right to the various freedoms we enjoy in the western world.

And he was willing to commit or encourage acts of violence to impose his will over mine or someone else’s.

That was when my instinct told me what I needed to do and I contacted local police authorities.  I shared what I observed and left it at that.

Within a few days, he stopped showing up a the coffee shop.

Was he arrested?

Was he tipped off?

Did he decide to go to another coffee shop for specific reasons?

Or was it all coincidence?

I’ll probably never know.

However, I do know that my instinct was alerting me to the high probability that what I was witnessing wasn’t right.

It was calling me to take action, even if I didn’t know what the right action was.

So I followed my instinct and took action.

Many times in our personal or professional lives, we are often faced with opportunities to make difficult decisions and many times, we get tied up in over-analyzing what we should do.

When we over-analyze what we need to do, we often talk ourselves out of taking any action or we spend so much time analyzing the situation that irrevocable things happen while we are still deciding what we should do.

When this happens, events transpire that may cause us grief or regret that we didn’t take action sooner (or that we hadn’t taken any action at all).

However, when we learn to trust our instinct, we discover that it is a greater gift than we realize.

And who knows – maybe some day, following your instinct may save a project, a relationship or even a company.

It may even save a life.

You just have to give your instinct a chance to cultivate.

And give yourself a chance to trust it and to follow what it tells you.

In service and servanthood,


For my Musings-in-a-Minute version of “The Power of Trusting Your Instinct”, please click here.

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