Instinct VS Intuition: What’s the Difference?

Have you ever had a gut feeling about something that turned out to be true? Or perhaps, you’ve been warned by your instincts not to do something and it saved you from trouble.

These are examples of intuition and instinct, two powerful forces that can guide us in life.

But what is the difference between these two concepts?

And does knowing the difference between them make a difference in our lives?

Instinct VS Intuition

To begin, let’s define instinct and intuition.

Instinct is an inborn or genetic behaviour that helps us survive. Think the instinct to panic if you got stuck in a rip at the beach – your natural response would be to try to swim back the beach the fastest way, which is usually trying to swim against the current – dangerous!

Intuition, on the other hand, is a subconscious feeling or thought that comes to you without conscious effort. It’s what we like to call “gut feeling” and is often hard to tap into or hear when our minds are occupied by other thoughts.

If trained and nurtured, intuition can override instinct for a more successful outcome — like knowing that if you don’t try to swim directly back against the current, but across it, you’ll conserve energy and have a better chance of making it to shore.

How We Can Use Instinct and Intuition

Most people have both instincts and intuition, but they don’t always use them to their full potential.

For instance, when faced with a challenge or danger, our instinctive behaviour may be to retreat or give up. This is natural for most of us as we’re programmed to seek comfort and security; however, our intuition may tell us to take a different approach – like trying to find another way around the challenge or taking risks in order to progress.

When we train ourselves to tap into both instinct and intuition, we’re more likely to make better decisions, especially in difficult situations.

Instinct Can Serve Us or Hinder Us

Instinctive behaviour can be helpful or hurtful, depending on our circumstances.

For example, if we’re in the middle of the jungle and come across a dangerous animal, our instinct will likely be to run away. This can be helpful if it helps us avoid danger and stay safe.

But if we’re faced with something such as the fear of public speaking, and our instinctive behaviour is to panic, this can be damaging to our goals. In this case, our intuition may help us to stay focused and calm so that we can see the bigger picture and find a way to succeed.

Likewise, if we’re presented with an opportunity that may be risky, our instinct might tell us to stay away from it. However, if we take the time to assess the situation and use our intuition, we may find that this is an opportunity worth taking.

Living A Life Based on Action VS Reaction

Another way to look at this is to think of living a life based on action rather than reaction.

Reaction is when we automatically respond to something without first taking the time to think it through. This is quite often instinct-based and can lead to impulsive decisions that we later regret (like spending too much money something we don’t need).

Action, on the other hand, is when we take into account both our instinctive reactions and our intuitive understanding before responding. This usually leads to more thoughtful decisions that can benefit us in the long-term.

Most people live their lives reacting to situations rather than acting on them – making decisions from a place of fear and survival rather than from a place of awareness and consideration.

By taking the time to pause, check-in with your instincts and intuition, and then act accordingly, you can live a life that’s based on informed decisions that’s much more aligned with your values instead of impulsive reactions.

Common Scenarios Where Instinct and Intuition Show Up

Ok, enough theory. Now let’s look at some practical examples of how instinct and intuition show up in our lives…

Instinct VS Intuition in Business

In business, instinct is often the warning sign that something isn’t quite right. It’s our “spidey sense” that can detect when something is off. For example, when you’re in the middle of a negotiation with a client, your instinct may tell you that they’re not being genuine or truthful.

However, instinct can also work against us. It can make us too cautious or stop us from taking chances altogether. For example, you may choose not to expand your business and take on more clients because you dread the extra work and responsibility.

Intuition, on the other hand, is your inner guidance system that can help you make decisions based on a deeper understanding. Following the previous example, intuition can you that the extra work and responsibility may be worth it because it could lead to more financial success, and the ability to hire help to free up time for the things you love.

When we learn to use both instinct and intuition, it can help inform our business decisions in a way that leads to more success and fulfilment.

Instinct VS Intuition in Love and Relationships

In a love relationship, instinct can be very helpful in keeping us safe and helping us to recognize when something is wrong. For example, if someone is showing signs of being emotionally abusive, your instinct will likely tell you to run in the other direction.

However, in certain cases, instinct can also lead us astray. For example, we may stick with someone who is not treating us well because our instinct tells us it’s all we deserve and that leaving would be even worse.

On the other hand, intuition can help us recognize when something is right. It can also be used to discern if a person’s behaviour is coming from a place of fear or love. For example, if they’re pushing boundaries and making demands, your intuition may tell you that they’re coming from a place of fear and insecurity, which can lead to a more compassionate response.

By learning to use both instinct and intuition, we can be more mindful in our relationships and make sure we’re connecting with the right people.

Always Check In With Your Instinct and Intuition

Overall, instinct and intuition can be powerful tools that help us to make better-informed decisions in all areas of life.

While instinct is important for helping us stay safe and recognize red flags, intuition can help us to take action from a place of understanding and compassion. When we use both together, it can lead us to more mindful and meaningful living.

So the next time you need to make a decision, take a few moments to pause, check in with your instinct and intuition and then take action. You’ll be surprised at how powerful this simple act can be and you may find that your best choice was inside you all along.

When We’re Tired We Default To Instincts

If you find that you tend to react instead of act, and you tend to behave from a place of instinct rather than intuition, you may just be struggling with your energy levels.

When we’re tired – whether that’s physiologically, mentally, or emotionally – we tend to rely on instinct more than intuition. So our thoughts, feelings and actions may be coming from a place of self-protection and fear, rather than clarity and love.

If this sounds like you, and you’d like some help with managing your energy levels, then don’t hesitate to reach out by booking in a FREE Energy Optimisation Plan Session with me.

It’s a 45-minute 1-on-1 personalised call with me, and together, we’ll work out an action plan that you can follow, as well as explore any other areas in your life where you feel like you need support.

So if self-care and wellness are something that’s on your mind – then book your session now and take the first step to becoming a happier, healthier version of yourself!

Take care,