I mentioned recently that I’m in the process of moving back to Canada. If you’ve ever moved, you know that there are certainly lots of things that you have to do when it comes time to start packing the truck. More than that, there are even more things you have to consider when you’re moving to a different country. Granted, some might say that Canada isn’t all that different from the USA, but it is still technically a different country, so that means that there is likely to be paperwork you wouldn’t have had to deal with, had you just been moving to a different part of the country or across town.
On the day of the move (packing the moving truck and leaving the apartment for the last time), I had a couple of library books that had to be returned. Now, I knew I’d be coming back to the area in a couple of months and I knew that these books wouldn’t be due until after I made my trip back to the area, but I just had this feeling that I should return the books on the day of the move. It wasn’t entirely rational, especially given that there were so many other move-related things I could have been doing.
When I get to the library, I hand my books over to the person behind the desk and I start to turn to leave. Just as I do that, I get the sense that I might as well make sure that there’s nothing else showing that I owe on my account. She asks for my library card and then checks the system. Yes, you seem to still have The Power of Habit and What Money Can’t Buy checked out.
I was so confused because I had returned these books about a week earlier when I picked up the two books that I was returning today. She said that it was showing in their system that I still had them checked out, so I explained to her how that wasn’t possible given that I returned them the day that I picked up the books I was returning today. She said that maybe they were still in the back and hadn’t been taken off of my account, so she went to go look.
They weren’t there.
When she came back, I kind of started to panic a little bit. I realize now that having to pay for this library book wouldn’t have been that great of a hassle, but when all your mind is thinking about is packing a 26′ moving truck in a few hours…
Then she said that maybe the books were on the shelf. On the shelf!? I thought. How could they be on the shelf and not shown as returned on my account. She said that it happens sometimes, so her and I went to check the shelves.
Sure enough, that’s where the books were. On the shelf.
As we were riding back down in the elevator, I asked her what would have happened had I not come in today and got this taken care of before I left town. She told me that they probably would have charged my account. To which I said, even though the books were on the shelves? She replied: “Yup!”
I certainly understand the importance of biases in decision-making, but that doesn’t mean that I’ll completely ignore a gut feeling. Sometimes, a gut feeling is so strong that we can’t help but check-in and see what’s going on. I’ve had experiences like this before, so I knew well enough when I was getting this kind of a response from my gut, I needed to follow-through with it. I encourage you to do the same, but don’t take it lightly. It’s important to learn the difference between hunger pangs and a gut feeling. It takes time, so don’t be so hard on yourself if it doesn’t come to you right away.