Fourteen thousand civilised people died when the tsunami hit Andaman Islands ? five percent of the population ? meanwhile a cannibal tribe, inhabiting the same island, hardly lost a life. And do you know what saved them ? the earliest early-warning system known to man.
When the Jarawa tribe saw jungle creatures performing a speedy mass exodus they decided they should peg it too. Meanwhile civilised men may have noticed the lack of birds singing in the trees or their dog straining the leash and did nothing. Clearly something separates tribal man from civilised man.
While they run for the hills we stand around believing it will be nothing but a storm in a tea cup and that everything will be fine. The fact that they act while we suppress clearly shows that life and death comes down not just to instinct, but the way we use it, if we use it at all.
You and I could be as instinctive as any tribesman if we practiced it, but everyday, in our daily actions, we choose to ignore our instincts. We go to a work-place that depresses us; do work we hate and take pills to dull the pain and make it more bearable. We eat food that is addictive until our legs rub together and our underwear causes chaffing, fail to exercise and then take more pills, have our stomach sewn up or inject ourselves with insulin. All this?just to survive.
And that is exactly what it is for most of us ? survival ? hanging in there, doing the job that kills our soul, taking on contracts that turn our gut because we believe there is no other option, doing food that causes our major organs to breakdown, living at a financial level just above subsistence level, with just about enough money left at the end of the week to buy a tin of food for that dog.
Will you wake up, please? Will you see how your instincts are telling you about your work? Will you find work that gives you life instead of sapping every living cell out of you? Will you notice that ill health is a hint that you need to eat better and exercise more? Will you take the hint that there is something you can do to save your marriage or relationship?
Instinct is only about feeling something and acting. It could save your career, your finances, your relationship and you life.
Neil Millar is the author of Novel Black Water and personal development books.
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