Emotions are powerful things. There's nothing wrong with being an emotional person. However, emotions shouldn't always be the driving factor - or the only factor - in how you make decisions. You can't change who you are as a person, and you don't have to, but it can be good to learn how to put your emotions to the side for a little bit to make more logical decisions.
Is There Something Wrong With Being Emotional?
There's nothing wrong with being emotional. However, if you put too much weight on your emotions when you make certain decisions, you can miss important details. This article will talk about how you can make decisions less emotionally, but you wouldn't want to make decisions without involving your emotions at all.
Can Emotions Be Dangerous?
Emotions help us to navigate the world safely and happily. However, some people never learn how to control their emotions or how to consider the emotions of others. This can make it hard for you to get along with other people and make decisions that will pay off in the long term. If you cannot put your emotions aside and affect your ability to live a healthy and productive life, wellness experts can help you balance your emotions more.
Ethos, Logos, And Pathos
Emotions are so important to how we make decisions that the ancient philosophers put in a special class. The ancient Greeks believe that three main things come into play when we decide based on someone else's argument.
"Ethos" is a big idea that doesn't translate very well into English, but it kind of means "personality" or "character." To the ancient Greeks, people would be less likely to listen to them if someone doesn't live a life by their advice. Say, for example, that your significant other wants you to lose weight. If your significant other is a healthy person, then their "ethos" checks out - they're probably making the argument that you should lose weight because it would be good for you, and maybe you should listen. If your significant other wants you to lose weight and has an unhealthy lifestyle, then their ethos doesn't check out, and you may want to tell them to put their jogging shoes where their mouth is.
"Logos" does translate well - it means "logic." Basically, if someone's argument makes sense, it's probably a good argument, and if it doesn't make sense, it probably isn't. It's easy to understand the logic, but it's hard to live by it - especially when it means suffering a little now for a bigger reward later.
"Pathos" is your strong point - it refers to an argument's emotional appeal. If an argument doesn't make a lot of sense, but it sounds like it will make you really happy, it can be easy to ignore that it doesn't make sense and focus on how it makes you feel. When we believe something because we want to believe it rather than because it is very believable, we act on pathos and let our emotions control us.
Later philosophers added time as a criterion. The idea is that the context impacts how effective an argument is. If you're having a cigarette with friends at a party and someone suggests that you quit smoking, it might not go over that well. If you and your friends miss a flight because you couldn't jog fast enough to catch the gate, the timing for a discussion on quitting smoking is a little more convincing.
Living A More Logical Life
When the ancient Greeks wrote about Ethos, Pathos, and Logos, they weren't necessarily writing about how to live so much as writing about convincing other people. Still, you can use the model to understand the arguments of others. However, they can also be applied to your life when no one tries to convince you of anything.
The next time you decide, think of it as the universe trying to sell you something. Ask yourself how you're thinking about the situation. What does it make more sense to do? Are you even thinking about how much sense something makes, or are you thinking about how it makes you feel?
You can't run an ethos check on the universe in this situation, but you can run one on yourself. Does acting on the situation line up with your values? Have you encountered situations like this before? How did you act then, and how did that turn out for you?
Why Is Logic So Hard?
Logic comes easier to some people than others. Sometimes, logic is something that you need to work out, while trusting your emotions or "going with your gut" comes much more naturally.
Further, logic sometimes requires making predictions or making tough decisions now in exchange for a possible greater reward later. Say, for example, that you enjoy your job, but it doesn't have certain benefits, like a retirement package, and another more stressful job does have those benefits. The emotional decision would be to stick with your job because you are good at it, and it doesn't challenge you. The logical decision would be to take a more difficult job because it's better for you in the long term.
Further, emotions are things that you're familiar with, while logical thinking sometimes requires thinking about other people. You don't have to be a selfish person to have a hard time understanding how your actions can affect other people. For example, a branch of ethics called Utilitarianism says that every decision that we make should make as many people as possible happy. In this way, utilitarianism takes everyone's emotions into account except for yours. So, in the above situation, from a utilitarian standpoint, you're no longer thinking about which job is more enjoyable or which job has more competitive benefits; you're thinking about which job has a more positive impact on society.
However, some people have argued that pure utilitarianism justifies concepts like slavery because it involves a smaller number of people suffering for the benefit of a greater number of people. That's where our emotions come in.
So we've established that it's not a good idea to make decisions using just your feelings or just your calculator. So, how do you balance emotions with logic? One fun exercise is to watch an old television program.
In the original StarTrek, the spaceship Enterprise was commanded by Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock. Kirk was an energetic and impulsive individual, and Mr. Spock was an alien who didn't experience any emotions and made all of his decisions based on logic. There were times on the program when Kirk would get himself and the crew into trouble by doing what he thought was right at the moment, even if it meant doing things that were dangerous or even illegal. However, there were also situations when Spock would recommend a course of action that the crew disagreed with because it meant not helping people, or even sacrificing people, to avoid risk - Spoiler alert, in a true utilitarian moment, Spock dies in the process of saving the crew of the Enterprise with the last words "The need of the many outweighs the need of the few or the one." However, when Kirk and Spock worked together, they would often develop a plan to maximize good and minimize risk.
If you're an emotional person, don't worry. Making good decisions isn't about ignoring your emotions and being entirely logical. However, you may need to think a little more logically to balance the Kirk and the Spock within yourself.
What do you do if you can't find that balance? When do you know that your emotions prevent you from making the best decision for yourself and those you love or even when it's damaging your relationship? One option is to seek out relationship counseling.
Relationship counselors can help you understand how you make decisions, how your partner makes decisions, and how the two of you can compromise. Sometimes compromise means that nobody gets exactly what they want in the interest of fairness. However, if the problem is that one of you makes emotional decisions and one of you makes logical decisions, compromising with your partner may lead you both to a better decision-making process.
With online relationship counseling, you and your partner can meet with a licensed and professional therapist or counselor to learn more about how you make decisions together and even message your counselor or therapist when you need special support at the moment. For more information about how online couples counseling can help you, visit https://www.regain.us/start/.
Chances are, it's true - you could make your decisions a little more logically by becoming a little less emotional. However, remember that your emotions - when used correctly - are a valuable tool that helps you make the right decisions.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What Are Logical Thinking Skills?
Logical thinking skills include being able to self-analyze and actively use critical thinking and logic, rather than just emotion and feeling, to come up with a solution that is not only feasible but works well for you and the situation. Logical thinking involves using a mixture of reasoning, facts, past and present context, analyzing details, understanding the objective to be achieved through critical thinking, and even creative thinking to reach the desired goal or solve a particular issue. It means you must think outside of your own perspective – thinking about things from your own perception and senses isn’t really logical thinking; logical thinking skills involve being able to think outside of yourself, your senses and emotions, and your current environment.
Can You Learn To Think Logically?
You can absolutely learn to think logically and develop logical reasoning skills no matter where you’re at in life. First and foremost, you must be willing to be open-minded and willing to explore, study, and learn. If you’re not willing to do this, you’ll have difficulty improving your logical reasoning skills. You can also do some more left-brained (the side of the brain involved in logical thinking) activities such as puzzles, crosswords, search and find games, learning a new skill, or studying a new topic.
Even if you’re not naturally a logical thinker, engaging in these activities can help you get used to using your left brain more and, over time, help enhance your logical thinking and logical reasoning through building practical, everyday logical thinking skills. Additionally, frequently asking yourself things like, “Why do I do this way?” or, “How can I improve the way that I do this?” or, “How can I help with this problem?” will all help you to, over time, consider these questions without really having to think about it and thus promote logical thinking. Even just exploring ways to think logically and enhance your logical thinking is in itself logical thinking!
What Is An Example Of Logical Thinking?
A simple example of logical thinking and problem solving is determining which job to take when you have several offers. You can create a table with each job at the top of a column, and on the left-hand side, label each row with the top 5 to 10 things that you consider most important to you with a job. They can be things like salary, job location, benefits, degree of interest in the job’s tasks, etc. Then rank each of these categories on a scale of 1 to 10 for each job, and add them up. Then you’ll have a visual, concrete scale to help you determine the most suitable job and how well each one lines up with what you want and need both now and in the future. It also utilizes logical thinking skills that help you to get more comfortable with strategic thinking and making logical choices.
How Can I Be More Logical And Analytical?
Asking yourself, “How can I improve my logical thinking and be more analytical?” is a very useful question to ask yourself, and learning how to promote logical thinking as well as creative thinking and strategic thinking is something that will serve you well in just about every aspect of your life, be it relationships, your career, or even just day-to-day tasks like determining what to make for dinner.
By following the examples of logical thinking skills outlined in the first FAQ as well as the tips in the second FAQ, you’ll be well on your way to learning how to be more logical and analytical. Other tips for improving your logical thinking skills include being more mindful of your surroundings (many of us get very caught up in our own inward worlds that we forget to look outward), noticing the behaviors and patterns of others, keeping a journal to write out your thoughts (this engages both the analytical left and creative right brain), having discussions with others about more complex topics like space or how species influence one another or how a car works (whatever interests you!), playing brain games, or even just doing a few math problems! In particular, mindfulness actively engages logical thinking skills but also helps improve your thinking in general as you learn to think and see outside of your own small bubble and focus on the details that are happening right now.
How Can I Sharpen My Logical Thinking?
Improving your logical thinking skills and making logical choices isn’t as difficult as it may initially seem! To help promote logical thinking, follow all of the tips and examples outlined above. Doing puzzles, learning a new skill, trying a new hobby, practicing mindfulness, questioning the reasoning behind your choices, and weighing out the data when trying to make new choices are all valuable logical thinking skills that you can use to sharpen this part of your brain.