Also, gut instinct is much more emotional and reactive (as it is wired in the primal brain), whereas intuition is more neutral and calm.
“The truth of your instincts is the root of your foundation.” – Sanford Meisner
Examples of Gut Instinct
Some call it a “hunch,” others an “inkling,” but in this article, we’ll refer to it as the gut instinct. Here are some examples that are taken from the animal kingdom and human (animal) behavior of gut instinct:
1. A herd of zebra sense danger while grazing. They cannot see the lions lurking in the surrounding savannah, but something is distinctly “off.” One zebra whinnies and the herd begins galloping away vigorously.
2. A herd of elephants meanders through the deserts in search of water. Instinctively they know what direction to move in to find their sustenance.
3. A cat sits on the edge of a three-story house and wants to find a way down. She slinks over to the edge and stares at the ground apparently about to jump – but then changes her mind. She climbs down to the first story roof and then makes the jump, apparently aware on an instinctual level that jumping from any higher distance would injure her.
4. A person approaches you at a bar wanting to flirt with you. You start reciprocating, but something feels wrong. You sense a predatory quality about this person. You don’t trust them. You excuse yourself and leave.
5. Two hikers get lost on a trail within the mountains. Without a compass or any way to determine a direction back to camp, they sit silently and tune into the surrounding trees. Suddenly one of them points to the west, “I have a feeling that is the way back!” An hour later they have made it back to home base.
6. You’re driving down a highway at night. Suddenly, the impulse overtakes you to change lanes immediately. You obey the impulse, and a couple of seconds later miss a large spike of glass that could have punctured your tire and rendered you stranded on the side of the road.
7. A young woman is sitting in class at college. Out of the blue, she feels the strange impulse to return home. She ditches the class and catches a taxi, a pit of dread looming in her stomach. When she arrives home, she finds her mother on the floor having a heart attack. If she had ignored her gut instinct, her mother would have most likely died alone.
8. A man has two job offers. One of them pays less, and the other pays more. Logically he would choose the job that pays more, but he can’t shake the knot of dread that forms in his stomach every time he considers accepting the higher paying offer. He decides to choose a job that pays less. Two months later, he is relieved that he chose the right offer as the higher paying company went out of business due to a high profile lawsuit.
I hope you now have a good idea of how the gut instinct operates!
Signs You’ve Experienced a Gut Instinct
“We must be unafraid to be utterly honest, to honor our gut feelings, and to say and do the unpopular when necessary. We have to give up our addiction to other people’s opinions and surrender to the freedom of acting with strength and courage.” – Suzanne Falter-Barns
Pay attention to these signs:
- A sudden feeling of dread or fear (that is out of context)
- A strong urge to do something (feels like an inner nudge or pull)
- Full-body chills, goosebumps or “tingles” up the spine
- Nausea or physical uneasiness
- Sudden hypervigilance (or being on “high alert”)
- A clear and firm voice within you instructing you to do/not do something
You might experience all of these signs at once or only one or two of them.