Three Instincts That Rarely Fail

December 3, 2015

“The very essence of instinct is that it’s followed independently of reason.”
-Charles Darwin-

“How did you know that?” “It was my instinct.” Do these words sound familiar to you?

While instincts are supposedly inexplicable powers that belong to the animal kingdom, human beings have them, too. Maybe to a greater or lesser or extent, but they’re there, crouching low, waiting to jump into action.

Maybe the reason for this is that we descended from animals, and we’ve been left with certain traces of their patterns of complex behavior. Instincts are activated in certain situations in response to stimuli, without us being able to avoid or analyze them.

We’ve all relied on survival instincts since we were conceived. Thanks to survival instincts, we can react to an attack or to danger. When we are about to be harmed, an emergency light turns on and our instincts take control of the brain’s command. We stop acting in a rational and emotional manner.

How can we classify these actions? Well, as instinctive. We basically react quickly to protect ourselves from anything that could hurt us. So, instinct is a response that comes from within us without thinking or feeling it.

brain light

There is an important difference between instinct and intuitionbeing that the latter does not always develop in everyone (although maybe it lies dormant somewhere). Intuition is the ability to understand, know, or perceive something immediately.

If we compare ourselves to our ancestors from thousands of years ago, we’d realize that we’ve “silenced” the voices of instinct. Maybe it’s because now, we strive to be rational and/or emotional people.

Society today doesn’t give instincts the credit they deserve. They’re considered as animalistic, qualities of those creatures that don’t understand things or don’t know how to express themselves. But it’s not like that!

Particularly, there are certain instincts that you shouldn’t ignore…

1. Sense of danger

Maybe you felt a pang in your chest or a sensation of anxiety that you didn’t understand. Maybe soon after, you reacted quickly enough to not be hit by a car or stumble in the street.

Do you think this is destiny? Good luck? It’s actually because your instincts protected you. It’s good to pay attention to the signals that your body is sending you. Don’t forget that the unconscious has the ability to perceive danger that your conscious mind and senses do not.

hanging from a cliff

2. First impressions

“That girl rubs me the wrong way.” Why? “I don’t know, but there’s something I don’t like about her.” It’s not that you’re a bad or prejudiced person, it’s that in that moment, instinct (or intuition) sent you a message that you shouldn’t ignore.

First impressions are also at play in cases where you really like someone you just met (and I’m not talking about love at first sight, that’s different). This basic and inexplicable process is useful for knowing who to trust, for example. If it’s not based on a stereotype or preconception, this instinct can be very useful to you for detecting dangerous people.

3. Decisions

We’re making decisions every minute. Some are easier to narrow down, while others take time. When you have to make a decision that will really change the meaning of your life, don’t doubt your instinct. This suggestion can sound a little primitive, but it will really be valuable to you.

Finally, we have to ask ourselves if instinct and intuition are reliable. Sometimes we can be wrong and we should be attentive to know when to fix our mistakes. But we might also be making a mistake if we over-rationalize.

Research has indicated that in 90% of cases, heeding the irrational ensures success. We can always do our own experiments to determine the effectiveness of our instincts.

What do you think? Do you accept the challenge?