The ultimate rationality theory is when faced with a choice that involves choosing between using your logic and emotions.
However, if you think the majority of your life choices are based on logic and reason, think again.
Humans are irrational creatures.
Cognitive scientists have known for decades that we are inherently irrational.
In his best-selling book, Predictably Irrational, author Dan Ariely, “We all want explanations for why we behave as we do and for the ways the world around us functions.
“Even when our feeble explanations have little to do with reality.
“We’re storytelling creatures by nature, and we tell ourselves story after story until we come up with an explanation that we like and that sounds reasonable enough to believe.
“And when the story portrays us in a more glowing and positive light, so much the better.”
Humans are inherently emotional, so our biases and beliefs can blur our perception of reality.
We rarely make decisions based on facts.
Rational decisions are those based solid statistics and objective facts.
Rationality trains you to notice your beliefs, many of which you may not even be consciously aware of, and ask yourself: where did those beliefs come from, and do I have good reason to think they’re accurate?
How would I know if they’re false?
Have I considered any other, alternative hypotheses?
Rationality shows you how to evaluate advice, assumptions, and principles.
A rational person’s behaviour is guided more by conscious reasoning than by experience, and not adversely affected by emotions.
When you are rational, you are likely to change your minds when presented with new and factual evidence that challenges your existing beliefs.
Rationalists are interested in getting the right answer rather than in defending their own egos.
Rationality trains you to step back from your emotions so that they don’t cloud your judgment.
Unfortunately, most people are not rational.
Many of us make bad decisions in systematic ways.
Nobody wants to make a bad decision, but we still all make bad decisions.
A lucid example furthers exemplifies this point.
When presented with a choice between two products: one free and the other at a cost, studies show that people irrationally opt for the free one, even if it means greater expenses in the long-term.
And why do we always take what’s free, even if we don’t really want what’s on offer?
When we are overly excited by free, we make mistakes.
Zero is not just a mere discount; it is a powerful decision-making factor.
When making a choice between three options (1, 2, and 3), you are most likely to value them differently if you had to choose between just 1 and 2.
Economists say this is faulty thinking because the value of 1 and the value of 2 are not altered by the presence of 3.
Most people don’t know what they want unless they see it in context.
We don’t know what kind of phone we want — until we see a review.
We don’t even know what we want to do with our lives — until we find an influencer who is doing just what we think we should be doing.
The good news is, you can train yourself to question your repeated behaviours and make better decisions.
Pay particular attention to your first decision.
Question your assumptions, and decision making factors.
Short-term decisions can influence long-term decisions.
Every decision can have large consequences on the next one.
First decision can have such a long-lasting effect.
Making a rational decision means questioning continuously.
Seek first to understand
Most people don’t think their decisions are flawed but they are quick to observe irrational behaviour in others.
They think they are being rational at the moment.
You have to be aware of your biases and create systems that mitigate the damage, otherwise, you will never come close to making rational choices.
Stay curious and explore the hidden biases of your own thought processes to make better and informed decisions.
And sometimes, the smarter you are, the more likely you are to fall victim to biases because you think you know it all.
Beware of intuition.
With every decision or judgement you make, there is a battle in your mind — a battle between intuition and logic.
And your intuitive brain is a lot more powerful than you may think.
Anything that gives you new knowledge offers you the opportunity to be more rational.
Rationality generally results in better decisions and a better life but it takes practice.
You can improve your ability to identify and avoid probably worse scenarios in your decision-making processes.