Quiet: The Power of Introverts

How to thrive in a world that can't stop talking.

Decision-Making for Cerebral People

How to rely on your gut instincts.

 Last February, a group of bloggers decided to write their "last blog post." The premise was, if you had one last post to make before you died, what would you say? The inspiration for this project was The Last Lecture, by Randy Pausch.

I learned about this from Guy Kawasaki, who wrote on his blog, "How to Change the World, " that if he knew when he was going to die, he'd stop writing blog posts and spend as much time as he could with his family.

I feel the same way, but would also want to make sure -- as Randy Pausch apparently did -- that my children remembered whatever words of wisdom I'd tried to impart.

So if I were to write down my number one piece of advice to my kids, it might be to go with their gut in all things. "When you know, you know" -- people say this about choosing the right spouse, but it also applies to choosing the right career, neighborhood, house, friends, everything.

I didn't start operating this way until my thirties, and once I did, everything fell into place. After a lifetime of romantic confusion, I met and married my husband, whom I've loved unwaveringly since our first date almost eight years ago. We found a house that we both wanted from the moment we laid eyes on it. I quit practicing law (I was the most unlikely corporate lawyer on earth) and finally became a writer -- which I'd wanted to be since I was four years old.

I think that it can be hard for cerebral people to operate this way. We're so used to thinking things through -- we LOVE to think things through. It' s our form of meditation.

But when it comes to many of life's big decisions, the very fact that you have to think about them suggests that you might be on the wrong path. I don't mean to suggest that everything must come easily. It could take a long time, a really long time, to find the right person, or figure out your life purpose, or find a neighborhood you love. (This last one took my husband and me years.) But once you stumble upon it, it should be recognizable.

(Similarly, if you find yourself anxiously asking your friends what they think, beware. If you were truly crazy about your new flame, or about the apartment you're planning to buy, you wouldn't have to ask.)

How about you? Do you tend to go with your gut, and to what result?

 

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Susan Cain is the author of QUIET: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking, a popular blog and forthcoming book about introversion.

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