Why Instincts are 90% of the Game

When we’re born, we don’t have much except our instincts. We can’t walk, we can’t talk, we can’t feed ourselves, yet our instincts tell us when we’re hungry, when we’re tired, when we’re uncomfortable, and when we feel pain. We don’t think about it, we don’t judge, because we aren’t yet capable of that. We run on instinct.

As we get older, those instincts that we’re born with start to get overshadowed by outside influences. Our parents tell us when to eat “I don’t care if you’re not hungry, finish your plate”, “Don’t eat those pretzels now, you won’t be hungry for supper”. We are told when to sleep, “Bedtime is 7pm.” and then to wake up “Get out of bed, you’ll be late for school.”

Structure isn’t a bad thing – if we all slept as much as we want and ate as much as we want we’d be in a sorry state indeed. But the downside of structure is that instincts get supressed. We’re told all the time to go against our basic instincts and eventually we stop listening to our instincts entirely. Our guts tell us one thing, but our heads are conditioned to be sensible and logical. By the time we’re grownups, we’ve pretty much lost touch with our instincts, and that can be very detrimental to our success.

We all have goals, and we all spend a lot of time and energy learning how to achieve those goals. But sometimes, we spend far too much time interpreting what our outside circumstances are telling us, and not enough time on what our guts are saying. And the truth is, trusting your gut is 90% of the battle. You heard that right. 90%. So, how do we reclaim that part of us that we were born with? How do we find our instincts again?

Trust me, baby. We hear a lot out here on the Internetz about trust. Heck, Julien and Chris wrote a whole book about how to earn the trust of others. But what if we take all we know about getting others to trust us and turn it inwards? All the trust agent techniques in the world are not going to make people trust you if you don’t trust yourself first. Trusting yourself means trusting your own instincts. It means understanding the situation around you but not reacting to it. It means finding that part of yourself that just knows what to do. You have this ability, every second of the day – don’t believe me? Read on.

Let it go. Reclaiming your instincts requires you to do something that goes totally against what your “common sense” tells you. It requires you to let go, completely. In order to find that instinctual part of yourself, you need to surrender completely all of your fears, hopes, and doubts. You need to stop listening to outside influences who are trying to steer you one direction or another. You need to go silent. Then listen closely. Hear that? That’s your gut. It’s not telling you what to do like everyone else is, because it just knows. It knows what your next move is, even if your brain hasn’t got the signal yet. Letting go is the single most important thing you can do to start living instinctually.

Watch, then do. So now you are paying attention to your instincts again, great! With all those pesky doubts and hopes and fears out of the way, your path is clear. Then, a remarkable thing will happen. You’ll see a message pop up into your radar, or you’ll get a phone call or email. You’ll check with your gut. You’ll make a decision. You’ll take some action, and things will start to happen. You know those people to whom it always seems good things are just “happening”? Well those things are only happening because those people are acting from instinct. They aren’t waiting for someone to knock on the door, they are building the damn door, then walking through it! They aren’t worried about what the detractors and naysayers are shouting at them, because they are not coming from a place of doubt. They are feeling their way to success. They are acting on their finely honed instincts to say the right thing, make the right offer take the right chances, and do what it takes to move closer to their goals. People who act from instinct watch carefully what’s going on. Then they go to that place in their gut that has all the answers. Then they listen and act. Then, and only then, do they succeed.

Your instincts are an amazing thing. They are what some would call a gift from God, the Universe, Buddha, or Mother Nature. We all have them. Imagine what the world would be like if we all tapped into our instincts a little more often.

Category:about life
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  • October 24, 2009 at 12:43 pm
    Ellen Rossano

    Thank you for this-it could not have come at a better time! I joke about learning this lesson-over and over and over again. My biggest mistakes and missed opportunities have come when my gut told me one thing and I did something else.

    It’s hard to tune out the outside influences, especially when they come from those who love you. I think sometimes loved ones want to protect us, so instead of helping us achieve a dream, they point out all of the bad things that could happen. I think it’s because they don’t want to see us get hurt or be disappointed; they mean well.

    Thanks for the advice to “go silent and listen closely.” The next time I’m at the fork in the road, I’ll follow the sign that says “Gut Check.” It might not be the easiest or most direct route, but I bet reaching the destination will be sweet!

  • October 25, 2009 at 8:02 am

    I highly recommend “The Gift of Fear” by Gavin de Becker. It is a must-read, that demonstrates your “gut instinct” is truly more informed than we give it credit for being.
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  • October 25, 2009 at 8:03 am

    We spend far too much grey matter on what others may think, what happened in the past and what we ‘should’ do. Meanwhile that little voice in our guts is screaming to be heard. Trust your gut, trust your instincts and if it doesn’t feel right it’s probably not right.

    If you allow the universe to conspire on your behalf, as you say, then you will be ready to pay closer attention to that call or email or message that is meant to help you.

    Sadly, we are trained not to follow our dreams for fear of being arrogant or frivolous. No one will grab the opportunities for us. That is up to us.

    And the first Trust Agent you need in your life – is you.
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