The myth of logical reasoning

Decision-making is based on an assumption:

We assume the decision-maker will take into consideration all of the available information, the probability and impact of scenarios, and potential costs and benefits in weighing choices, and to act consistently by choosing the recommended option.

But that’s demonstrably false.

People don’t make purely rational decisions based on careful analysis of value and expected utility, despite what we’ve traditionally been taught.

And it’s not an assumption I’d want you to make.

In fact, the assumption that you’re better off relying on is: “When in doubt, assume that people will act according to their emotions, dismissing information that runs counter to their beliefs, trading long term benefits for short-term costs and most of all, being influenced by the intangible they identify with.

You can make two mistakes here:

  1. Assume that the stakeholders you’re seeking to serve are well-informed, logical, independent, long-term decision-makers.
  2. Assume that everyone thinks like you, knows what you know, can see what you see.

Emotions drive our behaviour, while logic justifies our actions after the fact.

I’m not logical and neither are you.