When Something Just Feels Wrong

It’s 01:00 am, I’m listening to this amazing conversation of Mitch Joel and Jonathan Fields and I’m currently working on the PC of a good friend. He’s repairing my car regularly, doing the maintenance intervals and fixing it when things brake - and he asked me for a favor.

He asked me whether I could set up his laptop with a new Windows version, because it had XP installed and hence I’m making money online, I’m “the Computer Guy”.

The moment he asked me, I had the feeling that I shouldn’t help him, but instead refer him to a local IT specialist. There were several reasons for this feeling:

  1. Despite the fact that I’m a Web Designer and Coder, I’m not an expert for Windows. That’s another topic and to be honest, I don’t really like Windows (more on that probably later).
  2. His laptop is approx. 6 years old.

Even though my got told me not to, I said “Sure, I’ll help you out” and took his laptop.

Experience taught me a few things. One is to listen to your gut, no matter how good something sounds on paper. The second is that you’re generally better off sticking with what you know. And the third is that sometimes your best investments are the ones you don’t make. - Donald Trump

Backing up his data and upgrading Windows XP wasn’t a big deal and went smoothly. After a few days - I was busy working on my own (paid) projects - I handed him the laptop back and told him that it was done and he’d just need to re-install his anti-virus software.

That’s were the problems began. The laptop simply isn’t powerful enough for the new Windows version and runs really really slow. So he asked me whether I could recover the backup.

Like it always is in these situations, the backup is invalid and can’t be restored. When I made the backup, I just trusted the software and didn’t test the backup. Now I’m heading towards a day of installing Windows XP from scratch, desparately searching for hardware drivers to make my friends laptop work again.

How To Trust Your Intuition

The lesson learned is, that from now on I’m going to trust my intuition - regardless what it’s saying.

This decision is partly based upon listening to “The New Psycho-Cybernetics” by Dan S. Kennedy on Audible. The book is about trusting our servo-mechanisms to help us reach our goals. It’s a great book about creating a healthy self-image, crushing obstacles and tuning your mindset towards success.

One of the main takeaways from “The New Psycho-Cybernetics” is, that we all live by unconsciously defined rules, which we can re-define by regularly practicing exercises for our mindset. (Tweet this)

The rule that led me to work on the laptop of my friend is, that I’m never letting down my friends if I just see a small chance that I can help them.

However, as it turned out, this rule isn’t always true (what is?). In fact, my gut knew that I’m not the right person to help him with his laptop - and that he probably needs a new one.

But instead of telling him my concerns, I agreed to help him - which turned out not too good for either of us. He’s frustrated because the laptop is working slow and I’m spending time on his laptop that I would otherwise spend with my family.

If you get one takeaway from this story:

The next time your gut is telling you that you should or shouldn’t do something, listen carefully! (Tweet this)

Explore the reasons behind this feeling and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Why is it, that you think you should do this particular thing?
  • Why shouldn’t you?
  • Is this feeling aligned with your goals?
  • Is the negative feeling just the fear of failure holding you back?
  • Maybe the imposter syndrome is taking over?

My gut had valid reasons to tell me not to work on the laptop. Ignoring that feeling caused quite some trouble, mostly because this feeling was exactly aligned with my goals. I’m a Web Designer, not a specialist for Windows. Web Designers use (and sometimes tweak) computers, they don’t necessarily maintain them on the level that’s necessary to recover broken backups. It must have known that these issues will occur.

So, when you’re exploring a new field and your gut is telling you that the field might not be aligned with your goals, pay attention. I’m not saying that you should always listen to your gut, but sometimes it’s a good indicator.

I’d love to hear if you’ve experienced similar situations. I suppose almost everyone reading this has a story to share, where he or she ignored her gut and things turned out worse than expected. Don’t be shy and please leave a comment below, we all can learn from these experiences!


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