You should have noticed by now. Haven’t you?
If not, have a closer look.
EVERYTHING people do is driven by their emotions.
Don’t you ever think for a moment that decisions or actions are taken rationally. They are not!
The man is the only creature that has the ability to take an emotional decision and then masks it with a rationalization.
In today’s post, I will talk to you exactly about that.
Should we make emotional decisions based solely on impulse?
At the end of the day, is being emotionally driven a good thing or not?
As usually the main motive for writing this post, is the endless hours I have spent in the past explaining my position on the subject with many people (average or not).
Although, it’s really hard to explain something as complicated as this, I decided to give it a shot (and save me some precious time, the next time someone tells me, “you should follow your heart” yadda yadda).
Emotions or logic?
So, emotional decisions. Should you or should you not?
The short answer (which will become very long in a while) is yes and no!
As a human being, you should take a decision based on emotions, ninety-nine percent of the times.
You specifically (that you read this article) should not!
Let me clarify this.
People in general (as a species) should always base their decisions on emotions, you and me, on the other hand, we absolutely should not.
Oh come on man, why do you say that? I really like being emotional 🙁
The single reason why you shouldn’t “follow your heart.”
Is your current belief system.
What the heck is a belief system man?
According to wikipedia:
A belief system is a set of mutually supportive beliefs. The beliefs of any such system can be classified as religious, philosophical, ideological, or a combination of these.
But this definition doesn’t mean squat to me.
Here is my definition of a belief system (admittedly a bit long, but very descriptive).
Every person has a basic set of primary emotions. According to Paul Ekman these emotions are:
Every other possibly imaginable emotion you may come up with is a derivative of one or more primary emotions.
When people are born, they have this basic set of emotions intact (at least most of the times).
With every new stimulus even from day one, a baby is capable of feeling all of these primary emotions, plus many more which are combinations of the basic ones.
The reasons we people feel and express these emotions are many, but the most basic one, is because they motivate us, do things. Nature has armed us with emotions in order to “make” us do things which otherwise we wouldn’t.
I will say that once more.
The reason why we feel emotions is because nature wanted to somehow control our subconscious mind in order for us to do things.
Have you ever felt sadness after a break-up? Or maybe happiness after receiving a present? Have you ever felt disgust of a rotten food or the joy of tasting a chocolate cake?
Sure you have.
The reason is because you need to somehow know or learn instinctively (subconsciously) that rotten food is bad for you.
By the time we are born, we all have these primary instincts embedded in our brains. As we grow up, these emotions are combined with experiences and external stimuli and they develop into more complicated mechanisms.
The product of those developed emotions combined with our experiences is what makes our belief system.
Based on which, we make most (if not all) of our decisions.
(good job, that was shorter than I thought).
The root of all evil
OK, fine, where’s the problem then?
The big issue here is that most of the times (unless you are extremely lucky to be born in a family/society with intact belief systems), this system is built so badly, that most of the decisions it takes are wrong.
Man’s owner’s manual page 32, says that almost all of our decisions should be taken based on our emotions (subconsciously) and our already built belief system. And I totally agree (with the manual).
The reason why this needs to happen is a pretty clear one I think. Speed. The subconscious part of the brain (emotions) is capable of processing input (external stimuli) many times faster than the logical part of the brain (rational).
Imagine this situation.
You are in Africa Savana (out for a photo safari), you are in the middle of the jungle, and as you are taking pictures of the zebras, all of a sudden you see a lion running towards you.
A sequence of events takes place:
- You see the lion (with your eyes)
- The optical stimuli goes to your brain
- You brain (amygdala) triggers the emotion of fear
- This emotion triggers a fight or flight response
- Your brain tells your body to move away from the lion
- You make it alive in order to read this blog once again
Now, this whole sequence of events takes place in a few seconds or below. Your brain has already a blueprint of actions just in case you face a lion. You take a completely emotional decision based on your instincts.
Imagine what would happen, if you really had to think about it.
- hmmmm, let’s see, this is a lion
- OK, lions are dangerous from what I’ve heard
- Should I run or should I fight?
- Maybe I should fight
- (Lion is approaching)
- On a second thought, I think I’m gonna run
- Aaaggrrrrrr (I just lost a beloved reader)
Now you see why nature has embedded some programs inside our brains. To save time, energy and to keep us alive.
But there is one problem here.
Not all decisions are that straight forward. We don’t face lions every day.
Who cares about lions dude?
Your belief system and your emotions aren’t there just for lions. Your emotions are there to make sure that you will make a decision (actually thousands of decisions in a single day) just about everything.
Are you going to the gym or not? What about that chocolate cake I told you before. Are you gonna eat it? You wanna get up in the morning and go to work?
Believe it or not, every single decision is taken based on an emotional impulse and your belief system.
For example, some will go to the gym and some will not. Some will eat this cake, while some others won’t. What’s the difference between these two then?
There’s only a single difference.
The control over your emotions
That’s it. Nothing more, nothing less.
Think of two guys. Guy #1 who isn’t going to eat that cake and who will hit the gym, has built a belief system (based on emotions and experiences), that “tells” him to do the right thing.
On the other hand, guy #2 has built a belief system that pushes him to stay at home with pizza and beer.
Notice the difference here:
They are both making an emotional decision. Only that, guy #1 has associated gym and healthy diet with a positive emotion, while guy #2 with a negative one.
This is where the whole game is played.
Unfortunately for most of us, our belief system is broken. Due to our family, the society and our surrounding environment, our belief system is skewed very badly.
By the time we are born, these six emotions are working like a well-oiled machine, but after we swallow the blue pill of social conditioning, our belief system, our experiences and our emotions become totally fucked up.
We become, poor, fat, lazy, unhealthy etc. We build a belief system based on false premises. Sure, eating junk food every now and then, ain’t gonna kill you. For sure. But by the first time you do it, you associate this kind of food with a positive emotion. You know sugar and fat have this kind of effect in your brain. Sorry, it’s all about chemistry.
So year after year you consume this kind of food and then one day, when you want to quit, pleasure from cheeseburgers goes so deeply in your brain that you simply can’t. The same principle stands true almost about anything.
This is the reason why, most people feel the “wrong emotions” about external stimuli. And this is the reason why they should not base their decisions on these faulty emotions.
You simply should not base your decision to drink alcohol on the emotion of happiness. It’s just wrong. You should associate it with the emotion of disgust because eventually it will destroy your liver.
So now that we all have a better understanding of what an emotion is, let’s go back to my initial question.
Should your decisions be based on your emotions?
Not at all. At least, until you have repaired your belief system in order to work perfectly fine according to nature’s specifications.
Is there a way to repair my belief system?
Is it gonna be easy? Absolutely not!
This is probably the most difficult thing you will ever have to make in your whole life. The belief system its self is such a complex mechanism that it could take years to understand and repair.
The older you are the more complex it is. Although the main part of the core belief system is mature only a few years after adulthood, it continually evolves. Imagine a man who is brainwashed about money being bad or useless for 30 years. All his paradigms, his family, and his friends or the society as a whole, bombard him with this same message day in and day out.
After all these years, it becomes such a powerful belief in his brain, that every time he listens about money, negative emotions are born in his head. Consequently, he has negative emotions about money.
OK, enough with the theory. Tell me what I need to do to repair my belief system.
Step #1: Challenge everything
The first and most important step in order to repair your belief system is to challenge everything. You need to constantly confirm that what you have heard or seen about something is true (or based on scientific facts).
Why? Unfortunately, there is not an owner’s manual for the belief system. it’s not easy to say what’s right or wrong for most cases. But that doesn’t mean you should do things in random. To be brutally honest, as a rule of thumb, have always in mind that ninety percent of our belief system is broken by default – that means by the time we are born and you hear the first words out of your mother’s mouth.
It makes me laugh sometimes but even the way the children are born nowadays is wrong. A huge percentage of children is born with Caesarian section and please don’t tell me all these women have an implication. It’s simply impossible for half of the women in my country to have an implication during birth.
Even for the rest of them who give birth “normally” the whole procedure is once again completely un-natural. Women in nature were supposed to give birth standing on their feet, in a well-known environment that would feel safe. Nature wanted them to do it like that for a reason. It’s a natural position which helps the woman give birth easily. Women did it this way for millions of years.
And please don’t tell me that people in Africa Savana didn’t have cell phones either. It’s a stupid argument. Not having a cellphone or walk to go everywhere just makes you dysfunctional in a modern society.
On the other hand, giving birth with a Caesarian section is mainly due to profit and convenience reasons (for the doctor) and the broken belief system of the mother.
If you think what I’m saying is outrageous, here’s a video of a woman giving birth standing up at her home (alone).
That’s how it’s supposed to be done
My problem isn’t if a woman gives birth standing up or not. My biggest problem is that in order to know what to fix you need to study a lot. Our conditioning has fucked us up beyond recognition and unless you find some source of enlightenment in order to improve yourself, you are doomed.
Have you heard that the milk is good for you? This is a common belief. So check this up, do your research and your due diligence. If the common belief is true (highly unlike it is) then proceed. If the common belief is wrong then go to step 2.
Step #2: Educate yourself
Know what you want to achieve. You always need to have a plan and be proactive. There is no way you can repair anything unless you know, how it was supposed to work in the first place. Right?
I know it’s easier said than done, but have in mind that you don’t need to fix the whole thing overnight. Rome was not built in a week you know – only our world by our almighty God was 😛
Step #3: Control your emotions
Now for the tough part. This is the part where you need to take massive action and suppress your emotions.
This is the part where you need to “un-learn” your emotions and learn new ones. Here you will need to associate your desired outcome with positive emotions and experiences in order to embed them inside your belief system.
For example, associate your training with a very strong positive emotion like happiness. Unless you really train yourself to have a negative or positive emotion about something, eventually you are going to fail.
It took me many hours of studying and watching documentaries about how catastrophic white sugar is for my body before I decided to cut it off completely. It didn’t happen in a day, but as soon as I made myself feel genuinely disgusted about sugar (because it literally kills me), it was easy to eliminate it from my diet.
Good thing is that this very same logic applies to EVERYTHING.
I emotionally associated my business with the positive feeling of financial independence, of a life with little stress, of a life where I will be able to do anything I want. So at the moment I work for very long hours during the day, but that makes me feel full and accomplished.
If I had made a mental connection between my job and all the misery of my life, like most people do, it would make perfect sense not to have any drive for working. I know so because I have felt it in the past.
I could write all night long about these examples. So instead of that.
I will repeat this for the last time, I promise.
EVERY DECISION IS DRIVEN BY AN EMOTION!
All you have to do is:
- Challenge everything you hear, listen or already know
- Study a lot about anything you want to change. Learn how it was supposed to work in the first place
- Make every decision based solely on logic and rational arguments
- Train yourself to feel positive emotions for things that are good for you in the long run (pizza is not one of them) and negative emotions about things that are bad for you
- Gradually let your “repaired emotions” make the decisions for you
This is really it. I can’t think of a simpler way to put this.
If you ask me, not everything in my life is working the way it’s supposed to work, but I have a list of things I need to improve and I work on that list day in and day out.
It’s really fun actually. Instead of talking with my friends about the new rims of my car, I challenge them and they challenge me about things that will have a real impact in our lives.
You should try it yourself sometime. I bet you’ll be amazed by the emotion you’ll feel.