I read a recommended book called ‘Blink‘ recently, thanks Random Flow. It’s about those moments when you instinctively know something without knowing why. The author, Malcolm Gladwell, provides many examples of when a snap judgement is more effective than a cautious decision.

The idea is that by trusting subconscious processing we are not aware of, years of experience in a given situation can be drawn upon in an instant. A good example is of the fireman who ordered his men out of a burning kitchen because something was just not right. Moments later the floor collapsed, because the fire was actually in the cellar below. The fireman somehow knew the fire was not burning quite ‘right’. In this case he saved the lives of his men.

There’s many more instances and if intrigued you really should read the book, it’s very good. A recent conversation with a friend reminded me of ‘Blink’. As head doorman at a club he described a ‘Blink’ moment when refusing entry to a member of the public. The person refused entry had previously been a nuisance when one of his friends had lost a phone that one of the doorman was looking after. Some trouble occurred and the phone got lost while this was being sorted out. The bloke who owned the phone was fine about it but this other one was being obnoxious.

My friend was in the process of permitting entry for the nuisance and his friends when he recognised them from the previous incident. The nuisance was saying something and at one point my mate saw a certain look in the eye for just a flash and this was enough for him to refuse him entry. My mate told nuisance that his friends were fine but he was not, because he recognised  trouble in the look in his eye and he didn’t want the headache. Of course nuisance was not overjoyed at being omitted on the basis of a look in his eye. But my mate was later proved right as the nuisance had to be removed four times that night after somehow getting into the club ’round the back’.

The point is that if we ‘trust’ our intuition or instinctive feelings in a situation we can avoid trouble before it happens. In the case of my doorman friend it’s fairly cut and dried, he has a lot of control over who to allow in to potentially cause him a headache. If we are on out own we can head a ‘bad feeling’ about a place and leave before any potential headache occurs.

A decision does not have to be based on all the facts, there are examples in ‘Blink’ when too much information clouds the issue, snap decisions can be more advantageous. In self-protection situations it is essential to trust subconscious processing as delayed action could be costly. If you get the impression that the bad guy is about to hit you, he probably is, you don’t have the time to weigh up the rights and wrongs or the various factors that have taken him to that point. Some people believe they have the time to do so, I once argued this with someone on the Karate Underground forum. Better to trust your instincts, I’d say.

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