The Instinct Paradigm


First things, first. Learning and comprehending emerge with the understanding that you don’t have to be a genius to make your dreams come true. But, the fact is: unless you have a dream, you won’t know what to do too, and where to go. When you have established what you desire with a definitive purpose and mission, you will devote quality time to understand the function and structure of the mind — to permit you to soar higher. This is where comprehending the ‘interplay’ of conation empowers you in every domain of your life.

Psychology first uncovered the three components of our mind, 1. cognition [learning], 2. affection, and 3. conation, in the nineteenth century.

Since then, we have studied how human beings and animals learn, and how they come to know and comprehend complex constructions of our physical world.


Conation refers to mental activities that move us into action.

When conation is in the active mode, the science of psychology takes into account its fundamental aspects — motivation, goal-orientation, will [volition], self-direction, self-regulation etc.,

The purpose of this piece is to allow you to understand that success or over-achievement has nothing to do with god-given gifts to certain individuals only, but it is simply a habituated way of thinking, a habituated way of feeling, a habituated way of perceiving, a habituated way of dieting, a habituated way of exercising, a habituated way of physiological movement, a habituated way of language use, and a habituated way of action-taking… for all of us.

To, therefore, begin to think your way to success, you must simply train and direct your thinking towards what you truly desire. The following insights are designed to provide you with an overview of conation and how various activities of your mind can be used to assist your mindful development by self-monitoring and brain entrainment [brainwave synchronisation].

Let’s first understand the three psychological components, cited earlier, one-by-one.


Specialists in psychology refer to cognition as access to ‘knowing and understanding’ how we encode, store, process, and retrieve information. Our ancient philosophers wondered about the way we get to know things. They asked questions which are up-to-this-day debatable. Questions like: how do we access knowledge, is it a priori, or posteriori, which means, do we get our knowledge, from the mind, like 1+1=2, or do we get it from empirical experience — that is from observation?

This has also been an incredible mystery, likewise, to modern philosophers and psychologists, because rationalists argue that knowledge is a priori; it comes from the mind. Empiricists, opponents of rationalists, argue that, if this is true, how come our knowledge of learning to drive doesn’t come from theorising; rather, it comes through practice and experience.

Cognitive research, generally speaking, is associated with questions, of ‘what’ is the meaning of ‘that’ behaviour. The ‘what’ seeks to describe and give meaning to certain behaviour, while the ‘why’ seeks psychological explanation.

Explanation is logic, such as 1+1=2; or, what caused 2? 1+1 description is practicality, such as A failed in B [A failed in business]. The description doesn’t explain what caused A to fail in business.


Affect reflects the reaction of our emotions attached to ideas, things, behaviour, such as good or bad, painful or pleasurable. The common known question is: “How do I feel in relation to an event, idea, or behaviour I am attached to?”


Conation is the seed in your instinct, the motivational nucleus of desire, the fire to become, and self-determined to self-actualise. When you allow your free will to self-direct and self-regulate, you will succeed. When you comprehend and identify your instinctive power, you put it into action, and this is what this writer means — ‘being self-directed and self-regulated.’

To ignite your conation, you begin with basic questions: on ‘how to ignite emotions’ with clarity of purpose, intuition and action. Examples of some of the basic questions we face in our daily lives are —

  • What are my intentions, purpose and goals?
  • What am I going to do and when?
  • What are my plans and mission statement?

Let’s quickly review some of the research in the area of conation and volition, with a common example — of how this, or that, issue can be addressed in the learning process. Behavioural psychological components of success, to highlight the point, comprise of several motivating factors that get results. However, there are short- and long-term results and successes.

Many people, for instance, enrol in self-development programmes, even though they prepare themselves for long-term results and/or permanent success. In so doing, they often acquire short-term psychological tools to success, and unconsciously bypass the long-term psychological tools to permanent success.

This is ironical.

Get the point?