Monday, August 07, 2006

Curious about Instincts: How Do They Affect You and How Do You Use Them?

Work hard, use your common sense and don't be afraid to trust your instincts.” - Fred L. Turner

I don't like doing what's expected. I've always done best when I've listened to my instincts rather than following convention or doing what other people think I should do.” - Shawn Colvin

When I decided to write a blog about “instinct” I was curious about the similarities and differences between “instinct” and “intuition.” Yes, there is a similarity, but when we compare the dictionary definitions, we find that an instinct is, “a natural or inherent aptitude, impulse, or capacity ” whereas intuition is, “The act or faculty of knowing or sensing without the use of rational processes; immediate cognition.”

I ask you, though, are we using our instincts when we make decisions based on intuition? Another definition of instinct is, “Behavior that is mediated by reactions below the conscious level” and of intuition is, “A sense of something not evident or deducible; an impression.” Now they are sounding a lot more similar!

I think that the most interesting part of my delving into instinct(s) was the reading and study of the quotations. I found that so many of the quotations were positive and gave a lot of credit and power to instincts - much more than was ever given to intuition.

Examples of trusting our instincts:
  • My instincts have never let me down.” - Kim Wilde
  • The most important thing is that you believe in yourself and trust your instincts.” - Martin Yan
  • I think everyone should follow their instincts, and go with what they feel, and follow their heart.” - Jena Malone
  • Be yourself. Follow your instincts. Success depends, at least in part, on the ability to ‘carry it off.’" - Donald Rumsfeld

Then, there is applying our instincts to what we do:

  • You have to really be courageous about your instincts and your ideas. Otherwise you'll just knuckle under, and things that might have been memorable will be lost.” - Francis Ford Coppola
  • When the going got tough, I really had to draw on many of the same competitive instincts I did when I was skating. I really had to put my head down and stay positive. I had to fight.” - Peggy Fleming
  • You just have to trust your instincts and hope that if someone doesn't like your idea, you can prove them wrong in the final process. In the end, you can please some of the people some of the time, but that's about all you can do.” - Bryan Singer

So, what are your innate instincts? And do you use them consciously to work with and for you? The following names are in the news and have interesting thoughts about their instincts:

  • As a rock star, I have two instincts, I want to have fun, and I want to change the world. I have a chance to do both.” - Bono
  • A business has to be involving, it has to be fun, and it has to exercise your creative instincts.” - Richard Branson
  • I always go by instinct. I have been a freelance my whole career, and I always go by my instincts, and thus remain responsible for my own decisions.” - Michael York

Here are two thoughts for us to chew on this coming week:

September 11 is one of our worst days but it brought out the best in us. It unified us as a country and showed our charitable instincts and reminded us of what we stood for and stand for.” - Lamar Alexander

To seek understanding before taking action, yet to trust my instincts when action is called for. Never to avoid danger from fear, never to seek out danger for its own sake. Never to conform to fashion from fear of eccentricity, never to be eccentric from fear of conformity.” - Steven Brust

What do you think? I would love to hear from you.