Rational v Emotional

It may be a fact, but that doesn’t make it true. We spend huge amounts of time and creative energy making something look great and feel right. Then we spend even more time post rationalising something which we know in our gut – is the best solution.

When it comes to creativity – there is no right or wrong, but we all spend disproportionate amounts of time ‘proving’ what we just know by instinct.

Here’s a well documented example: American clever clogs, James Fixx had an extremely high IQ and weighed over 17 stone. He smoked 40 cigarettes a day and aged 35, he decided to change. He stopped smoking and started jogging. Gradually, he began running for longer and longer distances and his weight dropped to 12 stone.

In 1977 he published “The Complete Book Of Running”. It went straight to number one on the bestseller list, and sold over a million copies. He became the first ‘running guru’. James Fixx became a celebrity; he had discovered the secret to good health and long life. He went on to publish even more ‘best sellers’ about running, until one day in 1984 he died from a heart attack… while running.

It was later found that James Fixx had coronary arteries that were blocked by cholesterol. 95% in one artery, 80% in a second, 50% in a third. It was also found that his father had died of a heart attack, aged 43. Everyone immediately formed into opposite camps depending on their beliefs.

People looking for an excuse not to exercise cited Fixx’s death as proof that exercise put unnatural strain on the heart. That a good diet and low cholesterol was the only way forward. Dedicated runners took the opposite view. James Fixx died of a hereditary heart condition, not running. And anyway, running helped him live 10 years longer than his father.

Each group got locked into their positions using the facts to back up whichever position they took. Several decades ago doctors were recommending their patients to smoke as a way of calming the nerves. Now, cigarette smoke is considered deadly to anyone within a 2 mile radius.

Years ago, people avoided aspirin because it caused the stomach lining to bleed in healthy people. Now aspirin is the wonder drug that can even stop people developing deep vein thrombosis on airplane flights.

You want to know what the facts are? The facts are whatever you want to believe.

But we decide with our emotional mind, and we justify it with our rational mind.

A poor creative solution uses facts the way a drunk person uses a lamp post, for support not illumination (as someone very famous almost said). But when something is right – it’s just right, trust your instincts.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *