A few weeks ago, the Notre-dame in Paris caught fire.
And according to the media, 800 Million Euros were raised by businessmen and big companies in less than 2 days to help in repairing and restoring the Notre-dame.
At the same time, a lot of people were skeptical and a lot of posts on social media were challenging the logicality of this action.
Some people said ‘’isn’t it better to invest this money in helping people who are facing massive poverty in different countries?’’
Others said ‘’Isn’t it better to invest this money on activities that reduce global warming?’’
And more and more.
The point of view of all these people was that even though the Notre-dame is an important historical building, but in the end, it is just a building.
And it was more logical from these people’s point of view to help other humans with this money or at least in solving the world problems instead of restoring an object. And they described this action of raising this amount of money as illogical and cannot be verified or rationalized.
And now I have a question to all the people who raised these concerns or described this action as irrational ‘’Who told you that humans are rational?’’
If you stopped evaluating the situation from the perspective of ‘’rationality and logic’’ and that humans are supposed to be ‘’rational creatures’’ then there will be no problem at all. The problem is mainly in expecting that humans are rational and hence posing this question.
Not convinced about what I am saying? then continue reading.
Ever bought an expensive cellphone even though the price of this phone is higher or equivalent to your monthly salary?
Ever made a tattoo and paid for it hundreds of dollars just to have a picture painted over your body?
Ever spent all your savings on a vacation? Or bought an expensive car or bag or sunglasses?
Ok, one last example. Ever saw someone spending millions of dollars on a painting or a piece of art?
I am sure all of us did any of these actions in one way or another. And I promise you, that while you were taking these actions, someone else was wondering ‘’how did you do this irrational action?’’
And I will go even one step further and say, with the same concept of the Notre-dame story that I mentioned a few minutes ago, wasn’t it better to give some of this money to charity instead of spending it on a cellphone, car, vacation, expensive dress…etc.?
What I want to demonstrate here is that in one way or another, all of us took actions that are aligned with our identity, self-image, background and even other factors, that may look weird and irrational to the people around us, but for us, we found tons of reasons to verify them.
So here is an important lesson that I want to convey: In business and in life, do not ever expect that the people around you will accept your ideas or actions because from your point of view they are verified and logical.
This is also the mistake that a lot of people do in corporate life.
They have an idea that they want to implement. So, they create a presentation, put all the logical facts that demonstrate that this idea is amazing. And then they present it and the idea gets rejected or neglected. And then they start wondering ‘’How come that they ignored my idea? It was perfect and common sense.’’
Yes, it is common sense if the people you are trying to persuade will think and act purely on logic and if they see the world from your perspective. Which is never the case.
While you are presenting your perfect idea, maybe one of the decision makers is thinking that it is not matching the company’s identity and the image that they want to convey, others may be thinking about the budget and that they prefer to keep the money to apply another idea or implement a new project that they have, another person may reject it because he is not having a good connection with his boss and he needs to get his approval for such idea and he does not want to go and speak to him, and finally, there are some people who will ask ‘why should we bother or change a running system’?
Same idea, different impact.
Coming back to the Notre-dame story, yes, it is maybe illogical from the perspective of some people. But from the perspective of the people who will invest the money, I am sure they have their personal motives.
Some adore art and they want to restore it. Others want publicity. Others want to form a good connection with France or the French government. Others want to invest because of the identity and to be named as one of the people or one of the organizations that contributed to saving the Notre-dame. And hundreds of other hidden reasons that we will never know.
So if you want to get along with people and to influence them, and if you want to avoid long sleepless nights trying to understand their actions and behaviors, then remember, each time you see someone taking an irrational action, ask yourself ‘’And why do I assume that humans are logical creatures and will act rationally?’’
Asking yourself this question and remembering that each person has his own motives and identity will save you a lot of effort and will make you frame your messages in a way which is aligned with the other people’s motives and identities.
Let me know your opinion in the comments section below.