Every one of us is making important decisions so that one realistically thinks about everything and makes a rational decision. My experience says that real, rational and objective is just a story we sell ourselves, in order to calm ourselves. In the same time, our behavior is guided by our subjective realistic, whatever that means.
Today, I’ll tell you that “realistic” and “rational” are overrated. First of all, the objective and realistic exists just because we have a need of explaining how the world works. Everything we go through, all our perception, our behavior and feelings, can’t be either objective or rational. They are the consequence of our life experiences, seen from our perspective. They are the consequence of circumstances that happened to us only, and relationships with other people that we cherished. Therefore, our every moment if special and personal, and thus, subjective. If it is subjective, it can’t be rational. Da, you can observe something and the carefully, “without emotion” (show me how!?) weigh the best possible, realistic option. That decision again has all your experiences, all behaviors up until that moment, all relationships, all prior decisions and many more things. As much as you weigh, you will still make a subjective decision.
In one research, subjects were shown red, yellow, then green color in the screens, in front of them. The task was making a decision what hand will be raised (left or right) when the red light appears. Yellow light was to prepare and when green light appeared, subjects had to raise the very hand they previously decided. Simple, right? But, sometimes, while the yellow light was on, the experimenters induced a light magnetic pulse in one of the brain hemispheres. That caused a reflex raising of the opposite hand (right hemisphere – left hand). When the raised hand was opposite that the one decided just seconds ago, it had to be shared with the experimenters. Asked of an explanation, subjects found “rational” explanations, such as claiming they decided beforehand, they would raise the opposite hand. So, even though the raising of the opposite hand happened without conscious control, the subject had to explain that somehow, “rationally”.
We have a need to find answers why we behave in a certain way, why do we feel something etc. When you arrive in a certain place with a lot of new, unknown people, someone will be repulsive at the first glance, without obvious reason. Someone else will be interesting, again, without obvious reason. Then, you will justify that feeling to yourself by some rational and logical signs: clothes someone wears, someone’s posture, way of communicating, anything. In all honesty, how and why the initial reaction happened, you don’t know. It is the consequence of subtle interactions and picking up many information, through invisible channels. Communication goes on in many ways, beyond our conscious attention.
In my experience, instead relying on the rational with all your might, try just as hard accepting it is an illusion. We are emotional, not rational creatures. Our behavior, thinking and feeling is mostly governed by unconscious processes. We will try explaining them in a way our conscious mind finds it easier to accept, so we keep the illusion of control. Instead, try explaining your actions and perception in a different way. Bear in mind there are many signals you cannot notice, and that shape your behavior and perceptions of the world around you.
Realistically, everything is your perception. And it is unrealistic and subjective. Keeping that idea in mind won’t give you the ultimate answers, but it will increase your knowledge about yourself and the world around you.