On what defines a rational

What defines rational peopleWhen I came up with the idea for Sensing Sage, about two or three months ago, I felt a huge rush of energy. Not only was I finally able to define myself, I would be able to reach other people who also combine rationality with intuition, and together we’d be one big happy online family. Then, as my pink cloud slightly deflated, I began wondering: are we, perceptive systemizers, truly a different type of people? My specific doubts were not so much about intuition, but much more about rationality. Is it even possible to be rational? Am I deluding myself? Is it purely a situational thing?

This week, several things happened that allowed me to re-evaluate. Since – though fairly rational – I’m absolutely terrible with making choices, I’m going to just write about all of them. Chronologically reversed, for no particular reason.

So the very first thing happened about half an hour ago…

Can we overcome being mind-tricked?

I absolutely love ‘The life-changing magic of tidying up’ by Marie Kondo and so today I applied the principle to my browser bookmarks. You’d be surprised how many I’ve acquired in about two years. And so I went through each and everyone of them, dutifully selecting the ones I wanted to keep (and determining a new rule for myself: I’m not allowed to have more bookmarks than what fits on my bookmark bar) and I stumbled upon an old Ted-talk by Dan Ariely. Ironically, he talks about our inability to make decisions, and the way our knowledge of psychology does nothing to help us with decision making. Ariely basically says that even when we know we’re being mind-tricked, our mind is not strong enough to overcome this trick.

Do we do what we say we want to do (doobeedoobeedoo…)?

The second thing that happened to me, happened about an hour ago. It was reading an article from my old bookmarks (I have a life outside the computer, too, I promise). This article contained a link to a very quick 60 second test, that helps us eliminate bullshit from our lives. I would strongly encourage you to take the test before reading on, but in case you don’t feel like it: basically, the writer argues (and I agree), that if you write down every single thing you did yesterday, then compare it to a list of things that matter most to you, only the first list is valid. The writer asks how similar the lists are. Surprisingly, in my case 4 out of 5 items matched up. I swear I don’t mean to brag, it just brings me to point #3…

Point #3 is a piece of self-exploration I wrote last week. I wrote it for myself and it’s so very personal I can’t bring myself to share it here. I will, however, share a summary: throughout life, I’ve always felt like I didn’t belong. I’ve felt this was the case because I wasn’t good enough for others. Friends, family, random strangers. It has impacted me in a way I’d rather avoided. However, minor tweaks to my behavior not included, I never considered to fake it: to consciously dress in things I don’t like, listen to music I don’t like, do things I don’t like or hang out with people I don’t like. So while I was examining my fear of not being good enough, I realized there was something much, much deeper than that fear: a desire to be myself, even if it would make me lonely.

What it boils down to…

You’re probably wondering where I’m heading, and it is this: I don’t think rational people don’t have emotions. I don’t think rational people don’t make mistakes (or make them less often than non-rational people). But I do think that when we know where we want to be headed, we go there. When we know who we want to be – we don’t try to become that person. We make choices that are hard for us (and often others around us, which is why we’re often labeled insensitive).

If you’re reading this, odds are you’re a rational yourself. I urge you to return to the test mentioned above and take it, if you haven’t yet. And I urge you to follow your dreams. Don’t make up excuses why you can’t do the things you say you care about. Find a way to do them. And share your goals below, together we can help each other become who we want to be.

P.S. in case you’re wondering… the thing that was on my “important” list but not on my “yesterday” list was “living an adventurous life”. I’m already working on it, but in case you have some awesome tips on being adventurous, I’d very much love to hear them!

Bewaren

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