lseckerle

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Trust Your Instincts

 

Stop Sign 01

Trusting your “gut” can save your life. Call it a 6th sense, intuition, or whatever you like, but listen to that feeling telling you that something is wrong.
Over the years I’ve learned to pay attention. Many times I haven’t then wished I had. One of the worst mistakes I made, ignoring that wee, small voice, was when I took a job that I shouldn’t have.
The woman who interviewed me and later became my boss lured me with flattery and money. All the while I dismissed her body language, the lack of respect she showed for her assistant and many other small signs. My internal alarm was ringing but I refused to listen.
I lasted six months working for her, trying to make the best of the bad situation I’d let myself get into. Finally I’d had all I could stand. One day after she’d gone to lunch, I crept down the stairs – I didn’t want to run into her in the elevator. I got in my car, pulled out of the parking garage and never looked back. That was the only job I ever left without giving notice. As vindication, the company went out of business a couple years later.
Recently, I saved myself twice by listening to That Feeling. I pay my bills online and something told me to double-check my VISA payment. I’d put in the wrong payment date. I fixed the mistake with a day to spare or the payment would’ve been late and I would’ve been hit with interest.
Then there was the furnace. I have never, ever had my furnace serviced in the fall as a precaution for the coming winter. I’ve always figured it worked last spring so why wouldn’t it fire up just fine the next fall. It sits in the basement all summer so what could possibly happen to it during that time?
But, this year, I had a feeling I should have it checked over. I’d had a problem with a drainage tube last winter and during the summer the condensate pump had stopped working. I needed that fixed so the technician might as well give the whole furnace a look over. It turned out that the heat exchanger was bad to the point of spewing out carbon monoxide if I had fired it up. The technician called the office and found out it was still under warranty, but just barely. Listening to that small internal voice saved me about $1,100. The technician told me not to turn on the furnace until he could replace the parts which had to be ordered. I went through a couple of chilly days but that was okay by me. My hunch had saved me, literally.
I’ve also learned to listen to that inner voice when I’m writing a story. If a scene or the dialogue doesn’t feel right, it isn’t. The words may be good words and I love them like they’re my children, but they’re the wrong words and need to be deleted. I find if I follow my instincts and do the hard work, the story is much better for it.

Dark alley
So, if an empty side street or the dark alley that would make a good shortcut doesn’t feel safe, even if it is a route you’ve taken before, don’t go there. If you get the feeling you’re being followed, it’s not paranoia, you probably are. Get to someplace safe, but don’t head home. If there are bad guys on your tail, you don’t want to show them where you live.
Trust your instincts. If you’re wrong, there’s no harm done except maybe a little embarrassment. If you’re right, it just may save your life.

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