Who’s right?  People who use their Head or their Heart?

The answer is neither.

The best decision makers use the thinking generated from both their gut feel and from logical analysis.

Such simplistic labels can really cap your thinking.  So how can we change the focus we give to be more even-handed?

If you have traditionally thought of yourself as more of a “Gut feel” person, then life has taught you that you first reactions often prove to be right.  This is no doubt right and you shouldn’t ignore your first impression.  But why stop there?  Why not take note of your first instinct, but also, take a few moments to take on board more information and to compare and contrast the conclusions which a more considered logical approach demand, to that  of your gut instinct?

If these two conclusions differ, then that’s a good thing!  Don’t feel a need to be quickly decisive, but take a moment to examine where your gut feeling comes from.  This “System 1” thinking (as Daniel Kahneman refers to it) is just as logical as any other form of thinking, but it generates reactions and emotions based on the partial information available in the first instant.  The interesting thing is, the information gathered in that snap moment, often gets missed in more considered analysis.  So don’t ignore it.  Use it.  Just figure out where it comes from.

If you like think of yourself as a logical, rational personal then that’s great too.  But don’t dismiss your “instincts”.  As I’ve said above, these are just as logical and may well be picking up on evidence that your conscious logic tends to miss.

Do you want to take the best decisions?  Next time someone asks whether you tend to follow you head or your heart, say “Both!”


  • Tend to be logical?  Find an example of a first impression or instinctive reaction and analyse where it came from (before you cast it aside!)
  • Tend to be instinctive?  Find an example of a decision you have made instinctively and analyse it as logically as you can.  You may come to the same conclusion, but what assumptions/risks did you miss?


  • “Blink”. Malcolm Gladwell
  • “Thinking Fast & Slow”. Daniel Kahneman
  • “Cognitive Psychology”. Eysenck & Kean