The voice I heard in my head was my own, but it was some deeper part of me. It was calmly telling me something I needed to know.
“I’m going to marry that woman,” the voice said. And then my startled conscious self whispered the words back, as though I was in a trance for a moment.
I had never seen the woman before until that moment that I saw a photo of her. In time, we did fall in love, but we haven’t married. Not yet. Maybe my gut was wrong that day.
I have no idea how my gut knows things. I grew up accepting that my instincts told me things I could trust. For years, I assumed everybody was the same way.
My instincts are mostly about people, which helped in politics.
The first time I met Steve was at his office. He was going to run for state Senate and an intermediary had set up this meeting to see whether I might consult for his campaign.
I’ll never forget what I felt when I looked into his eyes that day.
On the surface, Steve looked perfectly normal and presentable. He was well-dressed in a business suit. He looked the part of a politician or a television personality.
But when I looked into his eyes, my gut felt nothing but cold emptiness. He smiled warmly as he shook my hand, but my gut screamed that he was empty inside — and that I could not trust him.
On the surface, everything about the meeting went well. He said all the right things. He seemed like the perfect candidate for a conservative Republican district. He gave every indication of being a passionate Christian and devoted family man.
But my gut screamed that something was wrong.
We had a second meeting at his house, where I met his wife. I wanted to see whether my first impression was completely wrong. But I felt exactly the same way. There was nothing but darkness and emptiness inside. That’s what my gut said.
I didn’t work for him, but I had friends who worked on that campaign. The things they told me in private confirmed what my gut had said. Behind closed doors, he was a train wreck, especially when things didn’t go his way. The truth about him never did come out. He became a state senator — and later lieutenant governor.
I recently met a potential real estate client who caused my gut to scream that he was trouble. He had a sad story about personal problems and emotional abuse from someone in his family. He told me a series of stories about how various people had “done him wrong” because he was too trusting.
His sad story was plausible and I felt empathy for him, but my gut said to stay away.
Then he called and asked me to help him buy a house. He had already picked out the house, so he didn’t need me to find him anything. He just wanted me to write an offer and negotiate the deal. It was very little work for a few thousand dollars. How could I turn that down? I took a chance.
Three days later, he was accusing me of crazy things. His actions left me embarrassed me with the other agent I was dealing with on the offer. The easy money turned into one headache after another. I eventually told the man that he needed to find another agent to represent him.
I should have trusted my gut.
I’ve read a lot of articles from scientists and psychologists trying to explain intuition or to explain those feelings away. I’ve gotten to the point that I really don’t care where such feelings come from or whether anybody else trusts intuition. I just know that something in me has access to Truth — the big kind with a capital T — at a level which I can’t consciously know or explain.
I get off track in life by letting my rational mind override what my gut says. It’s scary to trust in something you can’t explain. It feels as though you’re turning down great opportunities. It feels as though you’re betting on long shots. It feels like making decisions with tea leaves or tarot cards, because you can’t rationally explain it.
But the truth is that I somehow know what I ought to do and which people ought to be in my life. When I’m able to let go of my ego and my need to justify myself to others, I know the truth more often than not.
If I want to be who I was put on this Earth to be, I need to follow what my gut already knows. Whether you know it or not, that’s probably true for you, too.