Reflections – Instincts

How often do we put aside our instincts to listen to what others have to say about us or the situation we find ourselves in? It seems if others state something, it must be true. Yet why are we so concerned by what people think about us?


Though aware of our instincts, problems arise when we receive criticism. To what extent do we permit the negative opinion of others to stop us from proceeding towards our goal? Like me, I’m sure you can think of a time you’ve questioned yourself following receipt of a negative comment.


Certainly it can be reassuring and pleasant to be told how creative, intelligent and so forth we are. Praise given with the genuine intention of recognizing us or our work is always welcomed. We feel noticed and valued, yet our instincts risk getting put aside as we bask in the glory.

Taking the negative or positive input of others into account can be useful; relying on their opinions to the exclusion of our instincts can be limiting. As the American sports coach John Wooden put it: “You cannot let praise or criticism get to you. It’s a weakness to get caught up in either one.”


Back in September 2010, I wrote in the posting As We Are: “Trusting our instincts is not always an easy task. It takes courage on occasions to follow that gut feeling, but in most cases we will find it offers us sound advice.” The value of trusting our instincts, I believe, still holds true.

Taking small steps along the path towards trusting our instincts can help: implementing and verifying, one instinctive decision at a time. Even evaluating the outcome of those occasions when we chose not to listen to our inner guide can be instructive.

If you would like to share some input on the issue of trusting your instincts, please leave a comment below. In any case, thanks for stopping by today.



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