A few months ago, I was vegging out on the couch watching TV. Yes, I know, given my high output of writing, surely I don’t have time for that? I do and it happens. Anyway, I was pretty zoned out – the sort of hypnotic trance that only comes from watching a screen.
Then our front door started to open.
I wasn’t expecting anyone at all, let alone someone who’d enter without knocking.
By the time the door started to budge, I was on my feet and in the hallway, ready to confront whatever this was.
In the end, it was nothing too exciting. A group of young women had gotten the wrong address. They apologised, embarrassed, and backed away.
Here’s the lesson from that short story.
Even though I was relaxed and not paying attention… and even though my posture was closer to a sack of potatoes than a healthy human… I was on my feet and in position within a fraction of a second.
Had they been violent intruders, I was there, blocking their entry and ready to fight.
Fight and win?
Who knows, but this was my home, and fight I would.
And the great thing is none of that – from the actions to that attitude – required conscious thought. If I had to run through the variables and calculate my options, I would have never left the couch.
Instinct is effortless.
And lightning fast.
And while it’s automatic in the moment, you can consciously train your instincts. That’s what your conscious mind is great at. You can’t think and do at the same time, but you can think during quiet times.
During moments of reflection.
As you consider what went well, what didn’t and what you’ll do next time.
It’s easy enough to do – all you need is some peace and quiet.
But if you want to get the most out of this… to really hone your instincts and to sharpen your mind into the tool you deserve… then it takes a little more than silence.
You need to dive deep inside.