Interview: T.D. Jakes on the Importance of Instincts and How to Use It to Succeed

Most people find it difficult to get in tune with their inner voice amid their busy lives, however taking time to listen to a gut feeling or an instinct can lead to discovering a life of abundance and satisfaction, says Bishop T.D. Jakes.

In Jakes' new book, Instinct: The Power to Unleash Your Inborn Drive, he writes about how individuals can re-discover their natural aptitudes and become in sync with opportunities life presents if they are willing to see beyond their current limitations.

Inspired by a safari trip to South Africa and derived from personal experiences, Jakes' material illustrates some of the major principles and secrets that successful individuals have applied to their lives, but rarely tell others. In addition, Jakes offers readers advice on knowing when to close a business deal, when to take a risk, and how to listen to their hearts.

Below is an edited transcript of Jakes' interview with The Christian Post.

CP: You write that there is no secret formula to learning how to listen to one's instincts but how can we tap into them?

Jakes: One of the processes that is most helpful is to start to notice those things that you do that you're passionate about that spark your creativity, those things that you get energy from when you do them and you find fulfilment in doing, not in getting paid for it but simply in doing it. Those things that we do that put us in that kind of environment are our natural, most organic habitat that make us most effective in our careers, entrepreneurial pursuits, our friendships and lives. So many people don't do that. We spend so much time doing what we have to do and not enough time doing what we were created to do.   

CP: Why did you feel the need to write this book now?

Jakes: For me it was about being a good steward over the many opportunities that I have been blessed with not only as a pastor but as a person whether it was sitting around a table talking to President Museveni in Uganda, or going in and out of the White House or watching the inner workings of people at the OWN network with Oprah.

I've been in places that not everybody gets to go to and learn things that not everyone gets to see and to be a good steward of that and put into a product that other people could have a chance to glean from and use to go after their dream is my responsibility and privilege.

CP: You often say, "Intellect loads the gun but instinct pulls the trigger," explain what that means.

Jakes: You can't use what you don't know. You can't lead if you don't read. The more information you can gain and garner whether it's through material or experiences and exposure, the more diverse and interesting you are for the task in front of you. But you can't think that's the end of the process because while intellect may load the gun and give you the bullets you need to hit the target, if you don't have the instinct to know how to aim what you've been given, you may never hit the target. The instinct part of it is vital because it's the "when to do what."

CP: There are people who have yet to discover their purpose in life or probably know what it is but hold back from pursing whatever that may be, what's your message to them?

Jakes:  Many of us are struggling to fit and be our best selves so we spend all our energies trying to be somebody else when our real gift and real blessing is to be you.

One of the greatest mistakes I've made standing at the bottom of the ladder looking at those at the top is that I thought they were fearless but now that I get to meet and know them, I found that they are just like me. They have fears, insecurities, vulnerabilities just like anybody else but they felt the fear and did it anyway. I say to people, the fear you feel may be a yield sign, but don't let it become a stop sign. A yield sign means proceed with caution and if you're going into the jungle of media or politics, religion, education or whatever social construct your gift takes you to is going to be a jungle and you need those instincts to assist you along the way.

CP: You write about how instincts are innate and you urge readers to follow their hunch but where does your own motivation stem from that prompts you to act on your own instincts?

Jakes: There are two things that play here when you talk about me or Christians or ministers. We have two tools. We have our natural born instincts that were given to us by our Creator when He created us. But when you're a Christian, you also have the leading and guidance of the Holy Spirit who leads you into the body of Christ and ministry work and also assists you as it relates to your divine purpose in the Kingdom. Christians have such a benefit because they have the spirit of God bearing witness with their own spirit. I try to use all of that because the world is such a cold place and to get through, you need to use everything God gives you.

For more information on Jake's book, visit

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