Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Logic vs Emotion

In recent days I received two gift cards to two different bookstores, and also a gift certificate from the publishing company where I work. I immediately used the gift cards and selected my company gift books. I'm overloaded with great books just waiting to be read and enjoyed.

One small book I chose is entitled Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart. The title caught my attention and then the thirty chapter titles clinched my decision to get that book. This is one book I have already read. It's great. Yes, I'm definitely too soon old and too late smart.

One of the best chapter titles is "It is difficult to remove by logic an idea not placed there by logic in the first place."

We couldn't quit laughing at that one. I'm well known for being a logical, practical thinker and speaker. When a problem arises, I immediately shift into the non-emotional, practical and logical way of looking at things. Drives the people close to me, who are more attuned to their emotional side, a little crazy.

The author of the book, Dr. Gordon Livingston, makes some interesting points and observations:

In fact, it sometimes seems that we are so trapped in ineffectual life patterns that we are playing out the old military adage: If it doesn't work, double it. The motivations and habit patterns that underlie most of our behavior are seldom logical; we are much more often driven by impulses, preconceptions, and emotions of which we are only dimly aware.

He ends the chapter with:
Finally, when struggling to overcome maladaptive behaviors by the use of logic, one is often confronted with the fact that some ignorance is invincible. People can become so wedded to their particular view of how things should work that they ignore all evidence that suggests that change is necessary.

So what is the reality check here? For me, a logical person, it helps me understand that I'm coming at things quite differently than other, more balanced friends and loved ones. I need to get more in touch with my emotional side, I need to listen and understand other's emotional viewpoints, and I am helped by understanding that logic sometimes leaves others feeling misunderstood and not heard.

It's true that others may need more logic in their outlook on life, but I'm realizing I need a more balanced approach to communication and connecting to the important people in my life. It's a great lesson and a fun one to learn and apply.

I want to share more fun things I'm reading in this book. Hopefully, it won't be so long in between posts. We'll see.


Cathy H said...

One of my "day jobs" is with Strategic Dimensions. We find most groups go through "circular decision making" for the very reasons you just outlined.

In fact, the whole division was developed because we've found when logical data (left-brained) is presented interactively and graphically (right-brained), people can make decisions that "stick."

I'd always thought of this in left/right brain context rather than emotion vs. logic.

Interesting idea. I have to get the book.

MajesticSix said...

Thanks for sharing. I'm always looking for a good book - I think I need to get this one!

Keep updating...just in case I don't get to it soon :)