We Are Not Rational Actors

self mastery Jul 15, 2019
 

Don't promise when you're happy.
Don't reply when you're angry.
Don't decide when you're sad. 

-Ziad Abdelnour

We like to think we're logical, rational actors but we're not. 

In fact, it wasn't until recent decades we began to understand we make most of our choices from emotion, not logic.

If given a choice it was believed humans would choose that which was most logical. Which is why advertising was focused on facts, not emotion. 

But more than 90% of our choices are subconscious. Once this was discovered, advertising drastically transformed to primarily focus on emotion.

Emotion drives us to make decisions, not facts.

Facts Are Neutral

Information doesn't decide how we feel about something. Rather, how we feel about something determines how we interpret the information. 

Facts are neutral. Our mood influences what we choose to do with those facts.

When we're anxious, we make one choice. When we're confident, we choose another. Happy – sad, energized – tired, grateful – resentful...whatever mood we're in becomes the lens of our experience and influences the choices we make. 

This quote succinctly reminds us of that fact and encourages us to wait until we return to a stable emotional state before we make any promises.

When we're happy, the world is rose tinted and we're more likely to make promises outside our means. When we're angry, we're more likely to reply in a way we'll regret. When we're sad, we're more likely to make choices that aren't aligned with what we really want. 

We must remember we're not rational actors but emotional beings. This isn't a bad thing. If we were always operating under logic and rational we'd be more like robots than we would humans. 

The fact we get to emotionally experience life is one of the most beautiful things about being alive. We just have to become aware of how it affects our lens and influences our choices. 

Then we can learn to be logical about our emotions and get best of both worlds. 

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