The Law of Irrationality

January 21, 2020

 

I wanted to start the year being sure to encourage you all to be rational, and challenge your irrationality.  

 

According to the Laws of Human Nature by Robert Greene, "Rational people make decisions based on the long-term as well, while irrational people think short term. For example, in seeking a job the irrational person thinks about how much money they can make, while the rational person looks for jobs that fit their long-term goals."

 

Let me say that I have not started reading this book, but it is certainly on my 2020 reading list. I came up with this idea of sharing this law of irrationality on my own, only to discover that Mr. Greene had composed a book that addressed the same topic. I found this quote online and had to share it because it aligns perfectly with the message of this post.

 

So let's explore rationality. 

 

To be rational means you possess an ability to essentially think before you react or respond to any given situation. Your willingness to think contributes to a response that is not consumed with emotion. You give yourself the chance to respond objectively.

 

To be irrational is to respond solely based on emotion. Per Mr. Greene, the greatest difference between being rational vs irrational is a split second. A moment in time where you either decide to react or think.

 

As simple as that is put, being rational is not natural for many, it is something that has to be consciously worked on to achieve. And it has it's challenges, because those individuals who refuse to actively practice being rational, can't process why the choices they make yield undesirable results. In other words, action without thought (rational thought) yields undesired circumstances. And only those who choose in that split second to think, allow themselves a chance to explore and understand why their response may have been inappropriate.

 

I have encountered several stories of individuals who can't seem to understand why they are repeatedly in situations where they are seeking and/or needing help. Not that asking for help is wrong (or a bad thing), but the frequency in which you find yourself in need of help, if properly assessed, will essentially tell you that you are making not so great choices with unrealistic expectations.

 

Combat this by BECOMING MORE RATIONAL!

 

According to Mr. Robert Greene, irrationality can be overcome through practice of three things. The first being meditation. Meditation allows for you to reflect on a response prior to action. I meditate by allowing myself to sit in silence. No yoga or breathing, just silence. And although my intent is to clear my mind, I find that I encounter thoughts that frequent me. So I revisit them, exploring what still plagues me. Ultimately I reach a conclusion of why or why not I handled a situation in an appropriate or inappropriate way. I too consider what I need to do moving forward. I make a choice to either change or not change a response (reaction) based on a desired outcome.

 

The second thing Mr. Greene stated needed to be practiced to overcome irrationality is journaling (which I do a lot of). As you write, you are able to reflect on your emotions during a given situation and understand why your initial response may have been inappropriate. You can also identify if you need to apologize for inaction, inappropriate action, or simply learn from your mistake and apply your lesson moving forward.

 

The third and final thing that Mr. Greene suggests that you practice in order to combat irrationality is acceptance of the notion that you can not change people! Understanding this allows you to accept individual differences and check your unrealistic expectations. I know I speak about this a lot, which suggests that I practice this daily, and Mr. Greene and I wholeheartedly see eye to eye with this message. Allowing yourself to accept that you can not change people will ultimately change your life! It helps you to become more self aware. You choose not to place blame on others for your actions. And it's one of the greatest lessons we should learn in this life!

As plain as it appears in this post, I get that becoming rational is something that must be practiced. It took me years to get in the place I am today, but I don't regret any of the hurt or pain being irrational brought me. Today I appreciate that being rational brings an inexplicable peace of mind. And I guarantee you it's worth the effort!

 

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