Intuition Vs instinct: How to make the best choices

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“So, you’re feeling lost and confused. You hear about gut feeling, intuition, and instinct everywhere but aren’t sure how to use it.” Don’t worry. We’re here to help.

Today, we’ll discuss the difference between instinct and intuition and how you can use both for your decisions.


Intuition and instinct are two ways to make decisions. Intuition is a gut feeling that helps with rational thought, while instinct is an automatic reaction to past experiences. Use both to make the best choices in life, but be careful not to overthink.

intuition instinct
Photo by Marina Vitale on Unsplash

Intuition and instinct are two fascinating facets of human cognition that often get intertwined in our daily lives.

When we talk about intuition, we’re delving into the realm of our innate understanding and gut feelings.

We often see that a mother’s intuition is unparalleled, and there’s truth to that statement.

A mother’s intuition is the finest intuitive thinking, honed through years of nurturing and caregiving.

It’s the uncanny ability to discern their child’s needs or emotional state without concrete evidence, relying instead on subtle cues and a deep connection.

What is intuition?

Intuition, in psychology, is defined as the ability to grasp insights or make decisions without the need for conscious reasoning. It’s the thoughts that emerge from the depths of our subconscious, guiding us in ways we can’t always explain.

Our intuition is constantly working to assist us in problem-solving and decision-making. By tapping into it, we can make choices more efficiently, accurately, and effectively.

What is instinct?

Instinct is our natural tendency to act in a way that is habitual and automatic. It means that our instincts are ways we’ve learned to do things, like a smile or lick our lips, automatically and without thinking.

This (can be) helpful when making quick decisions based on past experiences.

For example, if you’re in a crowded place and someone starts screaming, your instinctive reaction might be to look around and assess the situation before calmly responding.

While intuition is often associated with our gut feelings, instincts link closely to reflexive actions in response to immediate threats.

However, intuition and instinct share a common thread – they are ingrained in our psyche to help us navigate the complexities of life.

So, what is the meaning of intuition or being intuitive?

It’s about tapping into that inner wisdom, allowing your intuition thoughts to guide you, and learning to trust your gut.

It’s a skill that can be honed and developed over time, allowing you to harness the power of intuitive thinking in various aspects of your life, from personal relationships to career decisions.

Understanding the psychology definition of intuition is just the beginning; embracing and nurturing your intuitive side can lead to a deeper connection with yourself and the world around you, ultimately enriching your life, which you never thought possible.

How do they work?

Intuition helps you perceive information without conscious reasoning. It is like a gut feeling or instinct. 

It drives you to make decisions in your personal and professional life.

However, instinct, on the other hand, forms automatically. People use this word when referring to things like licking their lips, shaking their heads, or feeling excited about something.

Intuition is good for making decisions without thinking, but instinctive behavior might not always be wise because it can lead you in dangerous directions.

Quickly Pointing Out The Difference Between Instinct vs Intuition.

Instinct is our natural tendency to react quickly in a particular situation.

Intuition is a higher-level ability to make valid decisions as per our intellectual understanding of a situation.

Instinct is faster and less accurate than intuition. It can also misdirect us at times.

One can develop intuition with practice and experience.

Also, in some cases, instinctive actions are the best ones to take, even if they are not always the smartest ones.

When making decisions, consider both instinct and intuition.

Intuition Instinct Infographic
Difference Between Intuition and Instinct

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There is a thin line between intuition and overthinking.

You must learn to identify the thin line when to trust your gut instinct, but don’t push it too much – you will end up overthinking.

Although intuition can be a helpful guide in making decisions, overthinking leads us to make mistakes.

When we overthink, we prevent ourselves from taking action and reaching our goals. We also end up wasting time and energy. Check this article on overthinking.

So, trust your gut instinct (intuition) and not try to second-guess it. The ambiguity factor will always be there. It is the courage that helps you take the next step without overthinking.

Give a pause here and digest the above statement.

How to make the best choices for your life with Intuition and Instinct?

The two types of decision-making can help you make different choices. 

When it comes to financing, we use our gut feeling (hunch) and intuition to make decisions with rational thought, such as buying a stock or not. Similarly, make decisions related to relationships and work using instinct.

An example is when you sense that someone might harm you, you instinctively try to stay away from them. Or when it comes to food, instinct tells you to eat something if it feels good on your tongue or if you are hungry.

It is because instincts developed in us over millions of years, so they have helped us survive in the wild.

As with any decision-making process, there are pros and cons for intuitive and instinctual decision-making methods.

Intuition offers more possibilities and flexibility in making decisions. However, instincts can help us make decisions more quickly and accurately, resulting in better outcomes for ourselves and others.

Overall, intuitive and instinctual decision-making is helpful in different situations with benefits.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which one is better: intuition or instinct?

It’s difficult to determine which one is better: intuition or instinct.

Both intuition and instinct are thoughts to help make decisions. However, intuition may be better when it comes to making decisions that are difficult to quantify (like what outfit to wear), have a high potential for reward (like whether to invest in a new business), or have a low potential for risk (like whether or not to take a risk on a dice game).

On the other hand, instinct may be better when it comes to making decisions that have a high potential for survival (like recognizing danger or death situations) or making decisions that have a low potential for risk (like figuring out which route to take during a car ride).

It is the natural ability of our neuroscience and inner wisdom. It is more like a flight response, which may seem like the right decision.

How do you know if it’s your intuition?

Some people can detect their intuition easily and often find that it speaks to them directly. For others, it can be hard to determine if it is intuition speaking or emotions playing our thoughts.

In either case, journaling about your experiences will help gain a deeper understanding of what is happening. Additionally, being open to other perspectives can help to broaden your perspectives on the matter.

Remember: One way to strengthen your intuitive abilities is to practice mindfulness with environmental stimuli. It helps better the subliminal processing of information when you are present in the moment.

Being intuitive is a good reason to improve your sixth sense as a human being and is a form of knowledge we must all possess.

All the external stimuli, instinctive feelings, our conscious thought natural responses, and making everyday decisions can be part of your daily deliberation to strengthen rational thinking. 

In today’s world, meditation must be a part of our lives in other different ways.

What’s the difference between intuition and instinct?

The main difference between intuition and instinct lies in their origin and complexity. Intuition is a higher cognitive function, influenced by learning, experience, and the subconscious mind. It involves a more abstract and reflective understanding, often applied to human decision-making.

Use the free downloadable infographic in this blog.


Instinct and intuition are two sides of the same coin. While instinct is a more basic gut feeling that we all have, intuition is a little more sophisticated and requires us to think critically before acting.

You explored the instinct and intuition difference.

We can train instinct and intuition over time to help in making decisions. But ultimately, it boils down to your decision and how you process information. Check out these related articles on human behavior.

Hoomale has several sections, including Corporate Culture & Leadership, Generation Alpha Mindset & Behaviour, The Future of Work & Technology, and more. Every section features interesting and thought-provoking articles that are sure to appeal to anyone who is interested in learning more about these topics.

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