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Emotion must lead, reason must follow

Drawing of the human brain, from the publicati...

Image via Wikipedia

Are you about to start a conversation with a statistic?

Stop.

Emotion must lead, reason must follow.  Because that’s how you commune with the human brain.  Emotion first, reason second.  Heart, then facts.

Please, REMEMBER THIS.  Whatever your cause, whoever your audience, you must start every conversation with the emotional heart of your cause, not the facts of its scope or scale in the world.  If you don’t create emotional space in the mind for your cause, there will be no place for your information to find a home.  And if you do not create a social landscape for a relationship, there is no place for human connection.

If I had a dollar for every person who asked if this applied to them, I’d have a lot of money for my nonprofit.  My answer is always this: There are no exceptions to the rule that you must awaken the heart to arouse the mind.

David Brooks says this so very eloquently in his new book, The Social Animal:

“Reason is nestled upon emotion and dependent upon it.  Emotion assigns value to things, and reason can only make choices on the basis of those valuations.  The human mind can be pragmatic because deep down it is romantic.”

Decision making is not a point in time, says Brooks: “We are primarily wanderers, not decision makers… We are pilgrims in a social landscape.”

So true.  So well said.

Hmmm. I’ll have to think long and hard about this one. How many times have I started a class or a presentation loaded with statistics? I’ve lost track!