Follow Your Instincts – and Reap the Rewards

We spend a lot of our time so distracted by our daily chores and commitments that we tend to ignore what our instincts are telling us.

You know how it goes. You spend all your time working or, worse, traveling to work. As an aside, I’ve always thought employers should pay you for that – let’s face it: you wouldn’t be traveling 2 hours a day unless you were going to and from work – so why shouldn’t that be considered work time?

Back to the point. You spend time dropping off and picking up the kids, preparing food, eating, sleeping, relaxing with your loved one, watching TV, whatever. Where do you fit in the time to write?

And yet, all the time in the back of your mind you have this little voice that says: You really should be writing, you really should be writing…

So your instincts know what you want but your activities are committing you to a lifestyle you don’t want. There’s the dilemma. How do you stop doing what you don’t want and start doing what you do?

Simple – and this is going to sound naff but – listen to your heart.

I believe there’s a reason why we have instincts – they are there to tell us what we really want. They are there to nag at you to deal with the things that are lacking in your life.

Bear with me for a few moments now because I’m about to advance a theory. It may sound radical, but it’s based on something Sigmund Freud once said.

He talked about dreams. His theory was that your brain needs balance. Your life may be focused on certain activities, relationships and whatever and they may be enough for your waking hours. But during sleep, the brain needs more – it needs to be stimulated to take in a fully rounded life experience. So it compensates for missing life experiences by ‘making them up’ in your dreams.

It’s a natural coping mechanism – designed to keep you sane.

Let’s take this idea one step further.

On a subconscious level, the brain is taking in, assessing and dealing with all the information it needs – real or imagined. It processes everything, striving for balance. But what if there is something left over, something found wanting, how would that manifest itself?

I believe it manifests itself as instinct. It’s that intuitive yearning that needs fulfilling. A feeling that something or some direction is right for you. And it’s something you must respond to.

For the last five years that’s what I’ve been doing: acting on instinct.

Sometimes flying in the face of logic, doing things that reason would regard as crazy, to follow what my heart, rather than my rational brain, is telling me to do.

And guess what?

It’s working. I’m happier now than I’ve ever been. More successful than I could ever hoped for. And every day I’m doing what I love – just taking life as it comes and doing what my instinct tells me to do at any given moment.

I recommend it.

Sure, things can get sticky. When I first resolved to listen to my heart I got sacked from my job – my boss said outright: “You and I know you shouldn’t be here, you should be doing your own thing. Just think of me as the bitch who made it happen!”

But that turned out for the good because she’d forced me to really come to terms with my life. She’d given me no choice but to confront my destiny.

I knew then I had to be a professional writer – what my instincts had told me all along – and that I had to make it happen, or die trying.

So that’s what I did. I woke up every morning from that day and just did what my heart told me to do: write a book, set up that website, teach this writing genre, whatever felt right. And it’s what I’m still doing to this day.

Simply responding to my instincts.

So, if you have some nagging voice in the back of your mind – listen to it – and act on its advice. It’s doing more than just nagging. It could be that it’s showing you the way to your destiny!

This article is written by Rob Parnell. Visit his website at

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