How Perspective & Sweet Emotion Trumps Knowledge

Many of us assume that facts rule.  Although I fall in to this trap like everyone else, it still amazes me how we constantly act against the facts.

We inconvenience ourselves to get to the gas station which is $0.03 cheaper per gallon on our way to dinner where we indulge on an extra dessert.  Savings from gas: $0.45.  Waste from the dessert you never needed: $6.00.

Why is it that we refuse to pay the extra pennies per gallon so we can save money, but then carelessly spend it many times over in many other ways?

We spend our time and resources so that the endangered spotted owl has an area to call home yet at the same time neglect our families and raising fabulous kids who can have an incredible affect on the world?

We focus so much on avoiding war and much less time thinking about clean water for developing nations, even though the unsanitary water kills more people per year than war does (infographic).

Why do we focus on those things which are obviously of less worth according to the facts?  The keys here are perspective and emotion. We focus on that which falls within our perspective of life and to that which we are emotionally attached.

As I mentioned in the last post, stats only go so far – same goes with our personal knowledge.  What drives what we do is our perspective and emotions.  Think about any bad habit (and we all have at least one).  Take smoking.  We all know it isn’t good for us, yet those who smoke have a different perspective with an emotional element.  Knowledge is great – but perspective and emotion drives action.

Want to change behavior in yourself or others?  Focus on perspective and emotion and less on the facts (but always have the facts to back you up in your pocket).