Why I Welcome That “Sinking Feeling”

Looking back over my life, the best decisions that I have made have always been preceded by that feeling of “there is something not quite right here.” Your heartbeat may quicken for an instant as the fight or flight response kicks in, your senses become heightened, and you are instinctively ready to change something.

These moments normally don’t last long, and they may be triggered by the smallest of events, something you see, something someone says to you…. but on every occasion your stomach tightens and beads of sweat appear on your brow.

You might be in the train overhearing a conversation about how some little boy was bullied – but your lad will always be fine, won’t he?

Maybe a recruiter sends you a speculative email “Are you happy in your current role?” Yes, of course you are, aren’t you?

Maybe the words in an email from your boss don’t sit quite right with you – why didn’t he just tell me, why the need for the formality of an email?

You see, when things are great in life, there is little stimulus to make any changes for the better (speaking for myself in any case). Life is hard enough, so when things are good you tend just to float along with the flow, making the most of the moment. These little concerns may get swept under the carpet. Perfectly understandable, but not so useful for when things get tough again. Your mind grows soft and willpower to achieve the impossible fades into a distant past.

I lead my life a little differently, and for me, this is the only way I know….

I have had a few “sinking feeling” moments in my life that have led to great things – but only because I embraced them and did something about them. Marriage, kids, working abroad, not getting onto a metro train that was about to be bombed – all came from various such “feelings.”

What I wish to say is, that no matter how small the doubt, no matter how insignificant the thought, it is always worth exploring why you feel a certain way, and then acting on it to improve things. Human intuition is a finely tuned instrument, and something that no-one can fully understand. If you spend your life thinking that everything will be fine in the end, suppressing your doubts until they grow to become behemoths of impossibility, then you will never make the most of your opportunities.

Listen to the small things, act on the small moments, make small changes to your life and to the lives of those around you. Make sure that you are doing them for the right reasons, and the big changes will come along.

My wife came home yesterday with the words “Danny has been in a fight” (my son isn’t the tallest little boy, although he is strong and very sporty, and he doesn’t have a malicious bone in his body). My instant reaction was so important as this was the first time that this had happened. Cue sinking feeling of all sinking feelings…. In actual fact, we had one of the best dad / son chats I have ever had and really explored some issues that we otherwise would not have. It would have been easy to ignore my concerns and just brush it off saying “boys will be boys,” but I met them head on, and it ended with a positive discussion. By the way, he didn’t start it, but by the sounds of things, he gave as good as he got. Good lad.

Live a proactive life, deal with the small stuff, and the big stuff will sort itself out.


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