Logical versus illogical

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The business world is very much focused on logical thinking. The ability to harness technology to obtain more information for analysis and forecasting drives many important decisions within £multi-million enterprises. The belief is that the more information we have to hand the better our decisions will be.

Although this sounds ‘logical’, the irony is that our brain is far from being the logical engine we assume it to be. The areas of the brain that drive our ability to make rational choices have many limitations; the most obvious being its ability to store and cope with large streams of information (there is a very good reason why phone numbers are the length that they are).

Continued advances in neuroscience prove that, not only are many of our decisions driven by emotions, there are many instances when it would be better for us to act on these emotions rather than ‘think too much’. The easiest example of when this is true is when sportspeople ‘choke’ under pressure. Accomplished sportspeople achieve their expertise through embedding actions into their unconscious mind through repetition in practice. The result is making complicated actions, like a golf swing, appear to be effortless. What pressure does is to cause some athletes to suddenly become consciously  aware of these actions. A golfer under pressure will become aware of every facet of their swing and will desperately try to control each part. This is too much information for the ‘thinking’ part of the brain to deal with at one time and usually results in a lost ball!

We have to learn when to listen to our head and when to listen to our heart. There is a place for both.

If this interests you, I can thoroughly recommend reading “The Decisive Moment” by Jonah Lehrer.

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