Spontaneous vs. Impulsive: Know the Difference

Males, in general, are considered to be the more risk-taking ones of the two sexes. Some say this has to do with our genetic heritage – after all, in the ancient times, males were expected to go out and hunt while women would gather and take care of children, tend to the animals, and generally stay behind the line of fire. No matter if it’s the genes or the wiring of our brains, it’s more likely that you’ll see a man bet $1000 at a roulette table in Las Vegas than a woman, and it’s more likely you’ll see a woman play casually than a man. Not that men wouldn’t enjoy playing for the fun of it – there are many male players at the All Slots that don’t even spend a dime on its games. But there’s a difference between being in Vegas and playing at the All Slots – and there’s a difference between playing $100 on a hand of blackjack spontaneously and playing your last $100 at the same game – on impulse.

Spontaneity is good

Spontaneity is generally considered to be a positive trait both in men and women. A spontaneous decision is usually based on gut feeling or the needs and wants of an individual, it is usually a creative and positive thing, bringing joy and peace into the life of a human. Being spontaneous can also be liberating at times, especially when the decision taken is a daring one with a positive outcome.

Most importantly, spontaneity involves a certain amount of self-control. It doesn’t involve planning, though, which may sometimes make it look like reckless behavior. It also involves direction and a driving force other than out-of-control feelings.

Impulsiveness is not so good…

Doing something on impulse may sometimes be similar to spontaneity yet there are quite a few fundamental differences between the two. An impulsive act is something you often regret later, without the feeling of liberation and accomplishment you feel in the case of spontaneity. And it doesn’t involve much – if any – self-control either. Remember the last time you were standing in line at the bank and felt the almost unstoppable urge to hit the person in front of you chatting up and flirting with the teller while you were in a hurry? When the feeling is overwhelming, you may indeed lose control and actually strike the guy – this is when you act on impulse.

Impulsive behavior is destructive instead of constructive, fearful or angry instead of creative and joyful, and often based on desires rather than needs. It doesn’t have a positive emotional charge of spontaneity but rather comes with feelings of resentment and regret. But only after the deed is done.

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