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The Emotional Tails Wags The Rational Dog

When I read this expression I thought, “wow what a tidy way to describe how most of us act”. It is far to easy to allow knee jerk reactions guide the way we think about the world around us. Instead of asking “what do I think about this?” Turns into “what do I feel about this?”

In the stories of Sherlock Holmes he is described as an automaton. Holmes is like a thinking machine, devoid of feelings. He was the quintessential reasoning machine. Note to self, look up what quintessential means. 😂

The idea of not letting your emotions govern your rationality is easier said than done. Most of us allow our emotions to cloud our decisions. “Oh you cut me off in traffic hmmm. Okay I’ll show you. I’m going to drive really close to your bumper to show my disapproval.” Or “this job is no fun. I think I am going to quit.” We often exaggerate things that evoke an emotional response. That emotional state is governed by the intuitive portion of your mind. It’s the quick thinking, shoot first and ask questions later part. ”I trust my gut!”

How do do we get out of this mindset with busy day to day lives that leave little to no moments of slow, deliberate thinking?


Count Something

Counting something is a great way to activate the slow thinking part of your mind.

Solve a Math Problem

Doing a math problem may involve counting but math as a whole is more about logic than anything. Doing a math problem is a great way to slow your thinking. If math isn’t your thing, grab a puzzle book.

Ask What If & Why Questions

These types of questions are great for forcing you to ponder over matters a little more than your fast reflexive brain can handle.

Knit Your Eyebrows and Wear A Lab Coat

Thats right. Looking like you are concentrating by knitting your eyebrows should increase cognitive strain. Just don’t do it for to long or you’ll end up like Mr. T. “I pity the fool!”

Also dressing the part of a scientist somehow makes you feel (there’s the word of the day) that you should think like a scientist. That’s not such a bad thing right?

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