One of the things that comes with maturity is self understanding, and this is vital in any business endeavour. Martin Jacques writes, in the context of civilizations and countries, “Former habits and attitudes have a strange way of reasserting themselves in new contexts… our actions and choices often bear strong echoes of the past.”

Understanding our tendencies, weaknesses, strengths, loves and hates, failings and deepest desires is the benefit of age and maturity, hindsight and self knowledge. And this valuable awareness can protect and guide us to optimize our opportunities and avoid pitfalls and traps.

Part of the guidance system a sensitive person develops and uses is that gut feeling: that marked coldness of the feet in some situations, and that tingling excitement in others, that points to the past and highlights the future. I refer to the objective intuition of good, well meaning people, not the habitual reaction of the slothful, the timid, or the malevolent, manipulative, and malicious.

That first intuitive feeling is often more accurate than the decision one creates after days of seeking evidence to support a conclusion that one knows, deep down inside, is wrong, but which pleases others or violates one’s values and principles. Those are the choices that one has the unpleasant burden of regretting for years to come. Don’t try to convince yourself against your better judgment, like when you hallucinated that the blond Realtor would sleep with you because you bought the house next to the railway line and opposite the smelly swamp. There’s a reason why they employ hooker type women to sell trucks and cars to brain dead men.

A simple illustration seems apropos. Based on my past successes and failures, personality, lifestyle, values, interests, weaknesses and strengths, level of risk tolerance, and intelligence, my intuition made me feel comfortable joining my present business last year. Notice I didn’t say, “needs, desperation, ego, ulterior motives, lust” – that’s not what one should be guided by.

People seldom change. We can improve and adapt and learn, but when it comes to business, it’s like choosing the shoes that fit you; you need a business vehicle that works for you. Being risk averse and having a need to be in charge and run my own life, plus the level of income potential that would fit my lifestyle and aspirations, the choices we make need to be a good fit. I can walk around for miles in these comfortable shoes, whereas forcing my feet into shoes that don’t fit won’t see me walking very far, and I will end up losing time and money, reputation and self respect, and enduring blisters and discomfort into the bargain.

As Steve Jobs said, “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”

Robin Elliott LeverageAdvantage.com