One of the most important lessons in business or anywhere you’re dealing with other people is… the other people. How do you know if they’ll honor their part of the deal? We’ve all heard the horror stories, especially in Hollywood.

Unfortunately, there’s no fool-proof way to tell who is trustworthy, but in my experience, the best way to deal with this is to follow what most business mentors recommend: Follow your gut.

Now, I know it sounds cliché, plus I’m more of a logical kind of guy, so when someone tells me to follow my gut I want to know why, and as I discovered, it turns out there’s more science to it than I imagined, which is what I’ll share in this quick post.

The science of following your gut

When you feel your gut ‘telling’ you something, it’s your subconscious speaking to you. As you might imagine, your subconscious is not an all-powerful, all-knowing entity, it’s just a part of yourself, not better nor worse than your conscious mind, just different tools for different uses, like a screwdriver and a hammer are in your toolbox.

Your conscious mind can work with about 4 to 7 items at any given time and process about 40 bits of information per second. Your subconscious in contrast, has access to all your experiences from all your life and can process about 40 Million bits of information per second which is why it can usually assess a situation much more efficiently based on your previous experiences.

For example, let’s say you’re at car dealer and Rob, the salesman is offering you a great deal. Everything sounds great on the surface, the only problem is something inside you tells you something’s off. Maybe your subconscious is picking up something in Rob’s traits or behavior that is similar to someone who scammed your dad when you were eight. The deal may sound amazing and like a no-brainer to your conscious, logical mind. Your subconscious however has a more educated guess, the trick is to be open to receiving it.

In this example you might just feel the salesman just rubs you the wrong way. If you decide to ignore it and make the deal anyway, rationalizing to yourself that you’re not there to make friends but to buy a car, there’s a good chance you won’t get the awesome deal you’ve been promised.

It’s similar to the movie ‘Limitless’ where he takes a pill and has conscious access to everything he’s seen or heard before, except in reality your subconscious usually only sends you a ‘feeling’ not flashes of the memories.

Since your subconscious can only draw information from your experiences thoughts, etc, the more experiences you have, the more accurate your subconscious will be which is partly why people who’s been doing business for a while tend to be really good at reading people.

So get out there, train your gut and learn to trust it!