Magazine article Success

The Instinct to Succeed: Pastor and Author T.D. Jakes on How to Harness the Power within You

Magazine article Success

The Instinct to Succeed: Pastor and Author T.D. Jakes on How to Harness the Power within You

Article excerpt

Every night before he falls asleep, Bishop T.D. Jakes watches a comedy. "I don't know that I've ever told anybody that," he says, laughing a little self-consciously. No matter what happened during his day, a comedy keeps worry or negativity from affecting his sleep. "I learned to do that so I could detox my mind. And I like going to sleep laughing."

Jakes has a lot to be joyful about. He's the bishop of The Potter's House, a Dallas-based church that's home to 30,000 members, with services broadcast across the U.S. and Canada. He's a husband, a father to five children and a grandfather to three. In 2013 he began hosting the BET show Mind, Body a d Soul. He's the founder of TDJ Enterprises, a media and entertainment company where Jakes turns his talents for writing and making music and films into a sizable profit. His gospel albums have scored multiple Grammy nominations (with one win), and he's written or produced nine films. He's the best- selling author of more than 30 books, including his latest, Instinct The Power to Unleash, Your Inborn Drive.

In this latest book, Jakes calls instinct "the inner wisdom of who we really are and what we were made to do." He says a fundamental instinct draws us to our divine purpose.

Recently I sat down on a sunny patio with Jakes to talk about how to become the people we were meant to be.

Decision-Making Power

When we feel misaligned, without passion or rhythm, we're not being guided by our instinct. "Most people are manipulated by the needs of others, the paycheck that supports them and the demands that dominate them," he writes in Instinct. "On this path we eventually live like slaves to a man-made system. We chase the goals of others instead of pursuing our own dreams. We anesthetize our despair with the next purchase, pill or plunder. We do what we think we should instead of living beyond what logic alone can dictate."

The feelings of disconnect, despair and foreboding that result from living outside our divine purpose make us what Jakes calls "a lightbulb without a lamp." But when we listen to our instinct and ultimately follow it to realize our potential, "it is the feeling of fitting in, like a piece in a puzzle," he writes. "It is the innate satisfaction that comes from giving the gifts that you and you alone can contribute to the world."

Instinct, he says, is fundamental in finding his direction-both small and large. "Whatever you do with your life, it should honestly be the out flowing of who you are. That way you don't have to work hard to manufacture it. It's best when it is organically and artistically an outpouring of your gift, your talent, your perspective."

Jakes pauses to take a sip of water. "You know, I was thinking this morning just out of the blue," he says, "how when the doctor was using an ultrasound and my wife was pregnant--that was years ago. We have grandchildren now. But when the sound got the loudest--ba-boom, ba-boom, ba-boom--you knew you were closest to the heartbeat. And I was thinking this morning about how you have to find the thing that makes your heart beat the loudest."

As a teenager, Jakes was a pianist and loved music. But, he says, "It didn't beat the loudest. Not until I started preaching and speaking. Then ba-boom, ba-boom, ba-boom." He suggests asking your self, Do I drag out of bed in the morning to do this, or do I run out of bed to do this?

The Creative Power of Stimulation

What if, I ask Jakes, you don't know what you'd run out of bed to do? What if you can't seem to figure out what makes your heart beat the loudest?

To hear our instinct, he says, we usually have to break out of our routines. We've got to spend time around other people who are making things happen. "We were designed like plants to cross-pollinate," he told Oprah. "We cannot be fruitful by ourselves."

We tend to sink into our own little worlds, keeping to the people we know, places we like and ideas we're comfortable with hearing. …

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