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cockswain's avatar

How do you think you can improve your instincts?

Asked by cockswain (15259points) August 28th, 2010

For the purpose of this discussion, let’s assume we are talking about CORRECT instincts. For example you get a hunch or a feeling something will happen a certain way before it does and you are right. We all have gut feelings, but frequently they are wrong. I get the impression certain people have a more accurate instinctive reflex than others. Great athletes seem like they must have better instincts than the average competitor.

How does this work, and how could one improve their accuracy?

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6 Answers

muppetish's avatar

During rehearsals for a play, a girl was supposed to take a glass of water off of a table and pitch it at my face (the liquid contents – not the glass.) It was my job to duck, and come into as minimal contact with the substance as possible, and then jump out of the way as she brandished a cane to smack me. This become one giant mess when our director realized that I have the worst reflexes ever. Without fail, I would wind up doused with water and hit in the leg. Someone, I cannot recall who, quipped, “Dude, she’s going to hit you. Why aren’t you moving out of the way?”

I think the only way one can hone their instincts is constant repetition. They also have to resign themselves to the process of learning that given instinct. When an athlete trains, they have to go through the motions over and over again. I think the best demonstration of this is martial arts training. Focus, focus, focus.

But there are some instinctual reactions I think you just cannot teach someone (I have the Star Wars line, “I have a bad feeling about this…” surfacing to mind.) I’m not sure what influences our gut reactions.

cockswain's avatar

I see reflexes and instincts as two different things. I think of a reflex as, say, being able to dig a volleyball spiked quickly at you. I see instincts more as where did you move to before the ball was hit?

Sports analogies are easy for this subject, but not the only focus. I agree with you that lots of repetition improves the appearance one has good instincts, but in sports it’s more just familiarity with the nuances of a particular game.

I’m having a tougher time defining instinct the more I’m thinking about it. It teeters on premonition.

Winters's avatar

SF training… or maybe just hide and go seek in a dark abandoned building at night.

Cruiser's avatar

First thing IMO is to acknowledge that they are there. We all I think have experienced that premonition, hunch, vibe feeling in a number of situations and it is often in retrospect that we may see a connection to that “feeling” and a particular event or outcome. I think instincts come in many forms shapes and “feelings” and it simply takes becoming familiar with the faculties involved with these instinctive feelings. I feel things and there is no mistake about it to me but it wasn’t always that way for me…I noticed this ability about 5 years ago and even before then many more years earlier I would notice these unique little things in my life. Long story short, I believe you can fine tune your instincts…how??? You just do it…a little research will go a long way to your discovery of these unique abilities and one more personal observation is I doubt it will ever go beyond simple awareness of these instincts we all have. Trusting them is a whole other ballgame!! ;)

PM me if anyone wants to take this conversation a step further.

incendiary_dan's avatar

A lot of intuition is probably the unconscious parts of our minds doing a better job of interpreting a series of stimuli that our conscious minds have ignored. Perhaps a change in someone’s outward stance might be too subtle to recognize, but through experience we unconsciously know that this tends to mean they’re upset. We might not consciously realize that a certain smell appears before a storm, but part of our brain does. Things like that. So repetition is definitely a part, as is general awareness.

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