If you’ve read my blog with any sort of regularity (or you just know me as a person), then you know I’m a pretty grounded, pro-science, logical guy. Not a lot of mysticism in my life. Given that, what I’m going to say next may surprise you: I believe in “signs from the universe.”

I do! But I have a pretty grounded, scientific, logical reason.

First, what do I even mean by “signs from the universe?” Well, let’s say you’re trying to decide between buying a red or a blue dress. And on your way home from work, you hit every red light, and then you find that the front door of your building has been freshly painted red, and you receive an unexpected present from a relative and it’s a red pair of shoes. Signs from the universe that you should pick the red dress, right?

Ah ha! Here’s the trick: if you said “yeah, that’s a sign! pick the red dress!” then you should pick the red dress.

If you said, “no, those are just coincidences, they don’t mean anything,” you should pick the blue dress.

Why?

Because people believe in “signs from the universe” when the universe tells them what they want to hear. They ignore such “signs” when they don’t. But that’s way more useful than it sounds! Because we’re often bad at being attuned to what we really want. We’re plagued with indecision. In the initial scenario, you couldn’t decide on the red or blue dress – but in your heart of hearts, you knew which one you wanted. You just couldn’t quite pull the trigger.

Letting “signs from the universe” (read: “convenient excuses”) push you towards what you truly wanted can be a great decision-making aid. It’s like a more advanced version of the coin flip trick.

(If you’ve never heard this, the Coin Flip Trick works like this: take your two options and assign them heads and tails, respectively. Then flip a coin, but don’t look at the result, keep it covered – what are you hoping for, in that instant? Heads or tails? That’s your answer, you don’t even need to look at the coin.)

So if you’re trying to decide between two or a few options, and you can’t easily eliminate them (meaning the decision is probably pretty close), then go ahead and follow signs. The ones you’ll believe will point you towards the thing you want anyway.