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Using Evolution to Achieve Success

A few days ago, I was jamming out to some music on my iPhone when I saw one of the most beautiful events in nature that I have ever seen. In the center of urban Austin, Texas a hawk sighted a squirrel, attacked it, caught it, and ripped out the innards perched atop an oak tree. Sure, we’ve all seen it on Animal Planet, but seeing it in the flesh (pun intended) was a totally different experience. Some were grossed out, others couldn’t care less, but for me it was a beautiful “eat what you kill” moment.

Eat What You Kill

I started to think about the same instinct within the human mind that is largely underutilized by most individuals. The same instinct to improve our chances of survival exists deep within every human being. For generations our DNA has held these traits, but only recently have they been abandoned. The social structures and technology that we live with does not require that humans tap into this primal instinct. The people who can tap into this evolutionary instinct can be infinitely more successful than their peers.

This does not mean that you and I should give up our jobs in order to hunt squirrels and pick berries.* Indeed, the ability to cultivate food in mass quantities has allowed humans to progress rapidly over the past few thousand years. However, bringing the “eat what you kill” mentality into your life can still be beneficial.

The large majority of people work for companies that provide them with a secure and steady paycheck every week or month. Like robots, these people become reliant on the steady paycheck rather than attacking every potential opportunity as if their life depended on it. In effect, these people are suppressing the natural instinct to do whatever it takes in order to eat.

The Challenge Fosters Growth

Entrepreneurs and freelancers, on the other hand, are forced into this primacy every day. As a business owner myself, I am reliant on my efforts alone in order to feed me. This reality has helped “flick the switch” in my brain to behave like our cave men ancestors thousands of years ago. Of course, this occurs out of necessity and provides an immediate result in my business so that I can afford to eat.

However, the more important realization is that I am more driven in everything that I do as a result. I have thus entered the “primal mindset,”** which is a mental state where complacency in any aspect of life is perceived as a disadvantage for survival. Tapping into this primal mindset in one area of your life will undoubtedly benefit you in the others. While I am in the gym or preparing to cook a meal, the motivation to work harder and to stay healthier is so much easier in the primal mindset.

That does not mean you have to quit your job and try to create your own business. Just be aware of the evolutionary traits deep within you that can improve your life. In a world where most people do not or cannot tap into these instincts, the few who do are bound to succeed.

* Though I do want to take part in killing, butchering, and dressing an animal.

** I will explain this theory/concept in another post in more depth.

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by Mans Denton

Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed my article. I'm Austin, TX based and I love the Paleo diet, meditation, proper fitness, and entrepreneurship. If you want to know more, check out the About THM Page

29 comments… add one

  1. A saying which has always really resonated with me is “desperation drives innovation” and I think that relates to this primal instinct you’re talking of. When we remove our safety nets and put ourselves in some challenging scenarios we rise to the challenge and find a way to make it happen.

    It’s the “do or die” situations which really push us and help us come up with the most miraculous solutions.

    For example, I moved to Montpellier in South France early last year, barely speaking a word of French, not knowing a soul and having no idea how I’d find a house. I knew it’d be a challenge but I trusted I’d rise to the challenge and find a way to make it happen. I’d be desperate enough to get resourceful enough.

    In the end, I stayed in a hostel where I met a French guy who could speak a little English. I got him to help me send some emails, make some calls and line up a couple of interviews. He was also kind enough to come to some interviews with me, acting as a translator and putting in a good word for me. It only took me 5 (rather stressful) days to move into an amazing house, right in the centre of town. Score. By getting desperate.I was able to push all my resources and make it happen.

    Thanks for the post

    Reply
    1. Exactly, Orrin! The only way to really grow is to put yourself in situations that challenge you as a person. I’ve found that out in great and not so great ways. I hope Montpellier is still treating you nicely!

      Reply
      1. Moving to Madrid next week… start of the next adventure ;)

        Reply
        1. Good luck! Kick ass once again

          Reply
  2. Get PRIMAL!

    Reply
    1. Definitely helps to get PRIMAL, Kyle!

      Reply
  3. Definitely agree with the part about the jobs. When you just come to expect a paycheck it does nothing for that part of the brain. Good wakeup call for people that forget about this due to work.

    Reply
    1. Thanks for the kind words! I hope it is a “wake up call” for some people or at least a reminder.

      Reply
  4. Without any skills it seems hard to start a business of my own. Not sure that is for everyone or else we would all be working for ourselves.

    Reply
    1. I disagree. You have skills in something (or at least a passion). With this, you can start your own business for sure. You can create this as you work on something else, but this is still a good idea. I agree it might not be for everyone, but still is nice to try especially if you are young.

      Reply
  5. The benefit to all aspects of life resonates particularly well with me as a business owner. I’ve recognized how much more in-tune to the world I am now. I have even started to eat more like you with the Paleo diet.

    Reply
    1. PALEO BABY! Great on both accounts. As you can see, I love the Paleo lifestyle and as a business owner I think we are on the same boat. Congrats! :)

      Reply
  6. Just like Orrin said, this whole “desperation drives innovation” is so true. Think about many of the inventions that we have created. Americans were desperate to beat the USSR to put a man on the moon – we innovated enough to do so.

    Reply
    1. I kind of feel like this is not the best example of this. Think less country / nationality based and think more along the lines of business. Some of the best businesses were produced in this way

      Reply
      1. Sure, I agree, but I still think it is an apt comparison.

        Reply
  7. Why on earth do you want to butcher and dress an animal?

    Reply
    1. Getting closer to the food you eat can never be a bad thing. It has to do with respect for the animal. The Native Americans had a similar mentality in this regard. Nothing sadistic, I promise.

      Reply
  8. Makes sense, but I’m not completely sure I buy it. How does owning a business make you more in-touch with evolutionary traits?

    Reply
    1. Well, as I wrote, it just makes you see things differently. You are responsible for your own wellbeing rather than a company or entity. When this is the case, you work harder and get more in-touch with some of the aspects of life that most others forget about. Make sense?

      Reply
  9. I don’t really know about this. Perhaps this is just your own feelings towards entrepreneurship? I feel like I have to work really hard at work in order to keep my job these days

    Reply
    1. Absolutely. With the economy the way it is (or rather the companies using this excuse), it is definitely a good idea to work hard at work. I feel it is more applicable without any network at all, though.

      Reply
  10. There are so many primal things these days. That primal diet, primal instinct, etc. I guess the primal mindset makes sense, but you should really explain this a bit better.

    Reply
    1. Thanks for the advice, Evelyn! Primal is indeed a buzz word. Hopefully, I’ll create another post that is more useful for your purposes :)

      Reply
  11. I have worked minimum wage before and man did I know about scraping the barrel and the evolutionary instincts. I guess I relied more on my survival instincts from a purchasing and consumption perspective while you have to worry about actually getting the money in the first place.

    Reply
    1. Definitely. I agree that working with little money can make you a lot more in-tune to this evolutionary “survival” trait, but actually going out and “hunting” (working) to get the money is a step further.

      Reply
  12. Even though it isn’t at all reasonable, I definitely still want to go hunt deer (squirrels, ew) and pick berries. LOL. I understand the point of the post, though!

    Reply
    1. Hehe, sometimes I do too. Maybe you can dedicate one day a week to this and then do it full time when you retire. :)

      Reply
  13. Great thoughts! I tend to believe the best method is to work while pursing your dreams on the side. At least to start until you have some money and resources coming in to support you full time. Then at the right time to switch from working full time to completely working in our passions and dreams.

    Reply
  14. That is a great method, Dan. I will not discount doing what you love on the side because there have been plenty of entrepreneurs who do just this. Definitely have to have some capital and resources as well.

    Personally, I don’t think I would be in a position to do it. That’s only because I can live cheaply and I don’t have a family / spouse who rely on me. Otherwise, it might be a bit trickier. In any case, at a young age I say work for passions and dreams! It will teach you a whole lot at the very least.

    Reply

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