Picking up where I left off a few days ago, I wanted to continue my stream on consciousness on emotions.
On the scale of what I find important in life, understanding emotions and how they play a part in what path your life takes is high up there. Don’t get me wrong, I act on emotion as much as the next person. I’d like to think I at least know what I’m getting myself into.
Finishing up chapter two of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck, a particular passage stood out to me. Before I mention it, I’d like to make it known that it’s not always the deepest or most powerful passages that stick with me for a long time. Sometimes it’s the simpler ones. The ones that invoke laughter or even just a simple head shake because it’s cheesy.
But then there are those people who over identify with their emotions. Everything is justified for another other reason than they felt it. … Decision-making based on emotional intuition, without the aid of reason to keep it in line, pretty much always sucks. You know who bases their entire lives on their emotions? Three-year-old kids. And dogs. You know what else three-year-olds and dogs do? Shit on the carpet.
Ain’t that the truth. Again, I’m not saying making decisions void of emotion is the right way to go. You’re not a robot, so don’t start acting like one. What differentiates alright emotion-based decisions and crazy decisions is the aid of reason.
Example A: Johnny wants to rob a bank because he’s angry that they took $2 for an ATM withdrawal fee. That’ll sure show those capitalist clowns.
That sounds like a highly emotional decision not based on any kind of reason.
Example B: Johnny met a girl. He likes her, a lot. He wants to impress her with his hobbies but showing her his rope and garbage bag collection seems like a bad idea. They stick to birdwatching, instead.
Now that I’ve explained it to you like you’re five, let’s fire around some personal stories. I mention this being something that hits close to home. I’ve been the subject of more emotion-only-based decisions that I care to admit, and one thing I’ve learned from all this is not that they’re bad, but finding someway to stay grounded is of the utmost importance.
If you let your grounding slip away, your ability to keep your choices in check, so to speak, will slip away, too. There’s a very fine line between the best and the right decision, and usually one of those involves tossing reason out the window.
I don’t have any regrets, though. Sure it wasn’t the best decision at the time, but I also want to keep on the positive side.
I’m looking forward to Chapter 3 where we talk about how we’re not special… sounds like a doozy!
Also published on Medium.