“Every instinct I’ve had in every area of life….it’s all been wrong”. -George Costanza
“Well there’s no telling what could happen as the result of this”. -Elaine
“If every instinct you have is wrong, then the opposite would have to be right”. -Jerry Seinfield
Have you ever felt all of your instincts in life were wrong? How do we learn to hone them and use them for our benefit? How do we know if doing the opposite of our instincts will actually
give us the results you want? Here are two examples from 2011 where I followed my instincts in one, and where I didn’t in the other.
1.) I Did the Opposite
In February of 2011 I had a publishing deal presented to me for 2 of my songs (I still got a lot to give, and Trading one spirit for another). From the beginning I had an uneasy feeling about this. Something just didn’t “feel” right.
Dan Miller told me I should pay attention to my instincts. However, like in a Seinfeild episode where George decided he should make every decision opposite of his instincts, I decided to go ahead with it.
However they insisted on a 5 page legally binding contract that severely limited my personal use of the songs. Basically I could kiss them goodbye or at least 3 years. I presented it to one of the top music business attorneys in Nashville. She looked it over and said that the contract was unclear, outdated and over-reaching. She amended it to current standards and sent it to them. They rejected it. She then called them and after the call she asked me if I considered passing on it. That’s when I finally followed my instincts and I walked from the deal.
2.) I Didn’t Do the Opposite
In August of 2011 I took a position as a resident manager of a half-way house in Nashville. It offered free rent, $400 per month and I could still run my cleaning business, Cool Springs Office Cleaning. My instincts said it would be great! I would live in downtown Nashville near Music Row, Vanderbilt and Belmont Universities. I would have the chance to help some people and pay off some debts at the same time.
Unfortunately, my instincts were wrong. Downsizing to a 10 by 10 room and having no privacy along with the insistence of the management that I micro-manage grown men made it clear I made a mistake. I moved back to Franklin, TN 10 weeks later.
What’s The Point?
The point is, instincts need to be honed. Sometimes they need to be followed. You will always hear a story about Steve Jobs or Donald Trump following their instincts for a break-through success. Both Steve and the Donald have had their failures. And their failures helped hone their instincts. How have you honed your instincts this past year?
“Telling us to obey instinct is like telling us to obey “people.” People say different things: so do instincts. Our instincts are at war…Each instinct, if you listen to it, will claim to be gratified at the expense of the rest…” -C.S. Lewis