It can be hard to know whether you give your emotions or your logic more power.
How often do you make decisions that, in hindsight, were led more by what you felt in the moment than what made sense in the grand scheme of things? Do you find yourself led more by your emotions or your logic?
I’m guilty of allowing my emotions to steer my direction. It’s human nature.
Over a cup of coffee with a good friend last week, this subject became a little more discernible, and understanding that there is a careful dance we do between these two seemingly different decision-making tools can determine a lot about the direction we’re headed and the progress we make in reaching our goals.
I’m a pretty emotional person, particularly when it comes to loyalty and relationships. I’m very passionate about people I like, and when I get a strong feeling about someone, sometimes I ignore what my mind might say and listen only to the feelings. Sometimes this is a good thing. I’ve had friends that have been incredibly beneficial to me, though their look or social crowd was a bit too dangerous for some of my other relationships. That didn’t matter, I liked them and we got along just fine.
Sometimes the emotions-over-logic is not a good thing, like choosing to dislike a school based entirely on the behaviors of one person. For instance, I honestly don’t like Texas A&M the school (or the football team in particular) based solely on my dislike for Johnny Manziel. Everything about that guy’s attitude, behavior, and social philosophies disagrees with both my logic and emotions. To be curt: I can’t stand the dude.
Yes, emotions run high for me when it comes to some things (football in particular).
And yes, it’s also a problem that I allow someone’s behavior to determine how I feel about a brand he’s associated with. It’s wrong, I know it. But I feel……
I have a lot of good friends who went to A&M. I don’t dislike them for their college, but I do dislike the school all because of one individual’s behavior.
That’s really flawed on my part.
Emotions can be a detriment to positive decision making
Let me take it a step closer to home for you. Think about the last time you bought something. Did your brain tell you that you needed it and it would serve a purpose that benefited you, or did your emotions tell you that you wanted it and had to have it? Whether you were in a store or clicked on a link to a website, once you paid the bill it was done. Either your emotions or your logic won out.
Sometimes emotions and logic will come together in a very close, passionate slow dance where both elements are on the same page. When this happens, decision-making is really fluid and beneficial to you. Usually these are really big-picture choices. For me, marrying Mrs. Smith and buying a house in the country that needed a lot of work was both an emotional and logical decision. Choosing to set out on my own as a self-employed person in my 30s and leave the 9-to-5 world was a choice made with both emotion and logic.
Big picture decisions need both of those players in the mix to be best for the short and long term success
However, that’s a careful dance to learn because usually it’s much easier to listen to our emotions than it is our minds. Our emotions give us feelings that we either want to experience again and again or run like hell away from. Unless we’re really in tune with the logical part of ourselves, the brain doesn’t have the same negotiating power that our feelings do.
Usually we realize this after the fact when it comes to buying something, when what we bought either didn’t fulfill the emotional appeal or if we don’t see the big results that were promised to us.
Has that happened to you too?
I talk a lot about embracing the process and not going for the shortcut routes that are presented to us to achieve the goals we set. I’m honestly guilty of doing it too at times, unless I check myself. This is something I’m still learning and processing through just like you are.
Have you invested in something to grow your project, music, business, or similar this year? Was the desire to be able to overcome big obstacles by “buying in” to a product what led you to make the decision? I have a few times this year. To be very transparent with you, I’ve invested in a few different products this year to make me better at what I do as a coach, teacher, leader, and service provider. Some of these investments have paid a good return in both results and in improving my abilities. Some of them were just crocks.
The feeling of having spent $$$ on a crock sucks. Often it outweighs the positives that come from having picked a winner, at least with how we feel. Winning feels great. Yet when emotions are at play with the crocks, those feelings can outshine the positives that logic might be trying to communicate.
Putting the dance moves into play this month
It’s Christmas season, which means you are probably in shopping mode for your friends and family. We’ve made a choice in the Smith clan to not go hog-wild over Christmas present buying, and instead find new ways to show our love for those closest to us this holiday season. We’re wanting to showcase our emotions for those we love, and do it in a way that benefits both parties. There’s a careful dance there. Fortunately for me, Mrs. Smith is the best DIY person on earth and what she cooks up for gifts is always a winner.
This is a time of year when emotions run high, not always in a good way. It’s what makes the night-time news for people to have fistfights over a toy at a store that is 65% off and supplies are running out. There’s no logic in doing something like that, not if anything other than a selfish play is at hand. Being mindful of this during the Christmas holidays takes vigilance, but it’s something you and I can both do.
I’m looking closer at what fuels our decision-making, and noticing this dance more and more. For me to reach the goals I have set in this coming new year, I can’t ignore one for the other, choosing logic over emotions every time or vice versa. There has to be a balance. I’m still learning what that balance involves and how to do it better.
Those who excel at this balance between feelings (emotions) and mindfulness (logic) are also those who have profound levels of wisdom. Knowledge may produce power, but wisdom brings peace.
What about you? Is this something you have struggled with too or are looking back on 2015 and wondering what led to some of the decisions you’ve made, particularly buying ones? Share your story with me in the comments and let’s talk.