Anyone who has worked in an office setting may have likely had been a part of this particular situation:
Everyone is gathered in the big board room. At the head of the table is the President, Vice President, or whomever the company anointed as the decision maker of the day. Detailed presentations are made. Arguments for different options on the proper course of action are put forward. Finally, when this part of the meeting is completed, everyone looks to the front of the room with breathless anticipation on what the decision from the person who makes the big bucks will be.
This person, who probably slept through the presentations, wakes up and speaks.
“My gut tells me that we should probably do Option C.”
I have a confession to make. I never fully grasped a decision that was made in the gut. Also, whenever someone tells you what their gut says, that person never volunteers to tell you what the brain said. What if the brain felt the exact opposite choice was the way to go? Shouldn’t we hear what the brain is telling the decision-maker?
Or even worse. What if the brain is completely silent, and has no thoughts at all. The brain of this important person is no longer in service, and the only working part left is the gut. Typically, we also see that the gut is actually the biggest part of this person’s body.
Do want my opinion? This is what I think. The people around the room put their heart and soul and spent days on these thoughtful presentations. This decision-maker is getting paid the big bucks. We have a rightful expectation that this particular brain is in good working condition, and should be put to good use at least half the time.
Fifty percent is not too much to ask.
If the gut is more important that the brain, you would never have someone state on their resume that, as part of their qualifications, they can speak five languages fluently. Under this concept, it would be more impressive if the resume stated that the applicant has eaten in five different ethnic restaurants, and make a point of eating Italian at least once a week.
Having an impressive gut may be an important factor if you happen to be applying for the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, but if you are relying only on what is going on in your gut, the decisions you may be making may be come out of the wrong artifice in your body. I do not know this for a fact, but I can only guess that the word “nincompoop” was created after watching someone make a lot of bad gut decisions.
Unfortunately, the planet has millions of nincompoops walking around.
Of course, what does a lot of bad gut decisions lead to for a lot of people? It leads to a CrankaTsuris.
“You have guts” on the other hand, does not necessarily mean that you happened to be born with two or more stomachs. This is all about courage, but having courage is about thought and preparation, and having mental toughness.
The best example that comes to my mind was Jackie Robinson. Jackie Robinson was the first African American to play Major League baseball. He knew that the path he was about to take would be difficult. He mentally prepared himself. The most important thing that he did was to set an example with abundant grace. He never stooped to the lower level of insults and taunts. This would have been the understandable and easy thing to do. Jackie Robinson had guts.
This comparison of “using your gut” and “having guts” leads me to think a bit about how we make too many judgments these days. The judgments come not from thoughtful retrospection, but from our gut. It is all from emotion. We get baited by this constant flood of false narratives and partial narratives. We do not do the mental work needed to ask the right questions. If we end up spending all of our time making judgments only from the emotional perspective, that gut judgment gets overused, and the result is a CrankaTsuris. This is the CrankaTsuris we create when we get overwhelmed, angry, or depressed.
I am certain that someone has mentioned to you that he or she cannot watch the news anymore because it is too depressing. Yes. It can be depressing, but the real reason is that it just overloads the emotional part or your gut, and it does not do anything to feed your brain.
This issue of “judgment” came up for me when I heard on the radio that one of the Boston Marathon bombers had his death sentence overturned by the First Circuit Court of Appeals. I had a reaction and feelings about that. It was personal.
The reason is that I ran the Boston Marathon that year. I was placed in the first wave and the tenth coral of the first wave. This was the last coral. I just barely made the first wave. The second wave started thirty minutes later. If I was in the beginning of the second wave, I would have been crossing the finish line exactly when the bombs went off.
I was lucky. Actually, I was very lucky. A year earlier, I ran the First Jerusalem Marathon. Two days before, I left the place where I was staying to go to the Marathon Expo to pick up my bib number. I was walking with my daughter, Vita, and we made a wrong turn and ended up walking through the Old City.
At the very moment, we would have gotten to the Expo, a bomb went off across the street at the Jerusalem Bus Station. It killed a few people and injured others.
Getting back to the Boston Marathon, what lives with me to this day is that when I made the final left turn to head to the finish line at the Boston Marathon, I made a point of giving high fives to all of the kids who had their hands out, waiting to be high fived. I was a kid’s hero, running towards the finish line, and he was going to get a high five. Afterward, I heard that one of those kids had died because he was not lucky.
So, I heard that the death sentence of the person, who was responsible for the death of a little kid, was overturned. I had an emotional reaction. Then, I heard the people on the radio being interviewed. People were just asked what they thought about the decision. Of course, it was unanimous. Everyone interviewed felt that it was the wrong decision.
The point here is that in this case (as in many others), the media was only going for the emotional decision, the one coming out of the gut. Then, I thought that it would have been nice that the report would include the reasoning for that decision so we can have some understanding. We can learn what arguments were made in opposition, and hear why the Appellate Court disagreed with those arguments.
Once that information is provided, we can understand the decision, but still disagree with the decision. We can disagree and we can respect the decision. We can even think that, despite the fact that we disagree, the judges who made the decision had guts.
Remember that person who told you he or she stopped watching the news because it was just too depressing. I can say for certain that you never heard someone tell you that they cannot watch well-made documentaries anymore because they are too depressing, and that would include a depressing documentary.
This is because the week-made documentary feeds both the brain and the gut. You are getting a well-balanced meal.
If the Last Surviving Dinosaur, the TyrantoCrankaTsuris, made many decisions from the gut, it was understandable and expected. The TyrantoCrankaTsuris, like all the other dinosaurs who roamed the earth, had a tiny little brain. Some say that the brain was so small, it was hard to even detect, and completely useless.
We now have learned that all humans evolved from the TyrantoCrankaTsuris, and that is why we all suffer from the common CrankaTsuris. However, lucky for us, our brains are vastly more developed and are much bigger than the TyrantoCrankaTsuris. We should all be mindful to remember to use our brains, and even “have some guts” when we use them. By doing this, we can lessen the effects of the CrankaTsuris, and make the world a much happier place.