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

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

By Rajesh Setty on Mon 25 Sep 2006, 10:29 AM – 3 Comments

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)

For the rest of the 160 articles in this series, please visit my Squidoo lens on the same topic:
Squidoo Lens: Distinguish Yourself


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3 Comments so far, Add Yours

Anonymous  on September 25th, 2006

How do you know that you are making an emotional decision rather than a logican decision? What is it that will make our brain aware of this fact?

Anonymous  on September 25th, 2006


One way to know is when you are struggling to find a justification or logic for something that you have concluded. If this process is causing too much of pain and suffering, that should ring a bell.

In my case, I have three mentors and a few close friends that will catch me red-handed :)



Anonymous  on September 25th, 2006

I definitely take a lot of emotional decisions…Generally not good but still I take it. I will look out for the tell tale signs next time.

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