A few days ago, Seth Godin published a terrific blog post called the rationality paradox. It’s not very long (like most of his posts) and I like it a lot (particularly the bold part), and so I’m reblogging it in full here:
If you see yourself as an engineer, a scientist, or even a person of logic, then it’s entirely possible that you work to make rational decisions, decisions that lead to the outcomes you seek.
The paradox is that you might also believe that you do this all the time, and that others do it too.
But a rational analysis shows that this is far from true. Almost every choice we make is subconscious. We’re glitch-ridden, superstitious creatures of habit. We are swayed by social forces that are almost always greater than our attraction to symbolic logic would indicate. We prioritize the urgent and most of the decisions we make don’t even feel like decisions. They’re mostly habits combined with a deep desire to go along with the people we identify with.
Every time you assume that others will be swayed by your logical argument, you’ve most likely made a significant, irrational mistake.
Your actions and your symbols and your tribe dwarf the words you use to make your argument.