Ways to distinguish yourself #164 – Don't rationalize your emotional decisions

While it would be good to fantasize about this, it would be impossible to get all our decisions based on pure logic. We are human beings and many of our decisions are emotional.

In fact,

* Many of our decisions in the past have been emotional.

* Many of our decisions right now are emotional.

* Many of our decisions in the future are going to be emotional

I am not trying to judge whether this is right or wrong. My point is to raise the awareness of this so that when you know you are making an emotional decision you acknowledge that.

For example, for many people buying their first home is an emotional decision. However, since they are not aware of it, they spend endless number of hours trying to rationalize and come to the same conclusion (buy or not buy) as before. If their earlier conclusion was to “buy” then of course, all the research data they collect it will point to a “buy” recommendation. They very nicely avoid giving a lot of importance to the contrarian reports. The other way (“not buy”) works the same way too.

Our professional life is no different. It is common to make an emotional decision and look for rational justification so that yuo are prepared to explain it away. This is OK as long as you know that this is what you are doing. When you don’t acknowledge it, you might start trying to find logic when there is none.

Here are some basic issues when you try to rationalize an emotional decision:

1. It is hard work and the return on investment for this effort is not much.

2. It is emotionally draining and as you have to make up something (logic) from almost nothing

3. It works only with mediocre people as smart people on the other end can figure out that you are making up things.

4. This may be a stretch but I feel that engaging in these kinds of activities imposes an opportunity cost on us as for the simple reason that they take away our valuable time (that time could have been used for something more productive)

Note 1: Here is a Squidoo lens that links to most of the previous articles in this series:
Squidoo: Distinguish Yourself

Note 2: The first 25 entries in the series have been packaged in a ChangeThis manifesto that was published on September 07, 2005. You can download that manifesto here:
ChangeThis Manifesto: 25 Ways to Distinguish Yourself (PDF, Free)

Note 3: My latest manifesto on ChangeThis was published on August 6, 2008. This is a photographic manifesto featuring 15 of my mini sagas (stories in exactly 50 words). Here is the link:
ChangeThis Manifesto: Mini Sagas – Bite Sized Lessons for Life and Business (PDF, Free)