Archives for June 2014

Rationality between the Head and the Heart

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Decision-making made easier. A little!

If you are torn between your head and your heart, if you feel the push and the pull within you, if you are confused what decision you should make…
This is probably because you have fallen into the Heart versus the Mind Trap!

One of the most important questions I am constantly being asked as a coach is how to apply the novel wisdom of following your heart when what it says is very irrational!
People usually complain about the difficulty to give in to the heart and to ignore the logic of the mind and all common sense!

This question is actually a manifestation of a great trap we – human beings – naively have fallen into.

The undeniable fact is; science makes mistakes. More often than not it does.
And some of those mistakes are so huge they stick with the people that science itself finds it agonizing trying to set the record straight afterwards.

One of those huge mistakes is the stupid distinction between the Mind and the Heart.
Bear with me here…

The biggest chunk of our mind is tied to the heart and not to the brain. The mind is more about the heart than it is about the head.

Even linguistically speaking we cannot use the mind as a metaphor to refer to the brain in the head, because the heart is also a brain, made with well over 64% of brain cells.

So, the right distinction would be the cranial brain (the brain in the head) versus the brain of the heart.
Understanding this will help us make decisions with greater ease and confidence.

For then, we will be able to avoid the trap of “Thinking versus Emotions and Feelings” which we have believed was the case for so long, and which made us feel stuck between the two when it comes to tough decisions.
(Just imagine how many scientific research and studies are based on that mistake, accusing the heart with the head’s own crimes; Emotional Intelligence work is an example)

The truth is; both the heart and the head have their own way of thinking, and both processing result in different kinds of emotions and feelings.

The cranial brain is responsible for logical thinking, analytical thinking, and procedural thinking
It is the area of common sense.
Which means you are constantly interpreting any given situation or experience according to what is “common” knowledge inside your head. What you believe to be true due to your upbringing, your belief system (Not faith system), your education, your own theory of how the world functions, etc.
These are usually more wrong than right. Believe it or not; what is “common” for you is not that common, and it is just in your head ☺

The heart, on the other hand, is responsible for Reasoning, which is a whole different way of thinking. It is the area of “Making sense”, the area of creativity and innovation, of system frameworks and seeking meaning.
It is the source of real wisdom and Rationality.
It says the “Truth”. Well, usually!
The type of processing that happens inside the heart will also result in emotions and feelings. The kind of emotions and feelings that connect us to our highest values, bypassing the ego-centric emotions of the cranial brain.

Quick illustration;
If you want to make a certain decision and you are aware of the two forces battling inside of you. One is telling you “yes, let’s do it” and another one is holding you back in a “slow down soldier, let’s examine it further” kind of message, how to tell which is more Rational?
(Please note: I said Rational and not logical)

If the situation really requires further examination, then the heart is probably the one sending you the second message and your ego is simply excited by the prospect of some kind of personal reward or profit.
But if jumping into action is really essential, your heart would be urging you to go for it, and your head will be the one giving you a hundred excuses why it is better to wait; based on a hypothetical logical theory of how things work.
Got it?!

So here are 5 keys to identify which recommendation belongs to the heart and which belongs to the head:

1- We were given a head to serve our ego but were given a heart to serve humanity.
If the message is pointing towards “This is good for everyone”, that will be the heart talking. The decision will serve a greater good, something bigger than you.
But if the message is “This is good for me”, that will be your head serving your ego.

2-The kind of emotions that accompany the two messages will be different.
Ego-centric emotions go hand in hand with your cranial brain recommendations.
(Excitement, Frustration, Sadness, Anger, Greed, Pride…etc)
Whereas the emotions and feelings you might experience when you examine your heart’s recommendations are different. They will make you feel like a better version of you, a better human being.
And you will feel a higher value being fulfilled. (Love, Oneness, Connection, Wisdom, Contribution, Service,…etc)

3-As a rule, always respect fear – until you know where it is coming from.
Your heart is the source of courage, it is seldom afraid.
If the message is coming from fear (Fear of Dreaming, Fear of failure, Fear of Conflict, Fear of Upsetting People) that is probably your head protecting your ego.
It will offer you very logical sequence of what might occur, and very logical “what ifs” but all not real. It is just in your head.
This is Mental F E A R: False Evidence Appear Real
Real fear is rare. And nothing is mental about it ☺

4-The heart is a non-verbal brain.
Which means it doesn’t have a voice and it doesn’t rely on language to deliver its message.
So if you are hearing a voice in your head, it is probably coming from, well, your head ☺

5-The head is chatty.
The head always gives explanation and excuses. It presents a very logical argument, not necessarily a rational one though.
The heart is prompt, it lets you know what it wants and no further explanation is offered.

Putting all keys in mind we become more able to identify the recommendations coming from the heart, clearing its reputation of what it has been wrongly accused of.
And as we give it its well-earned respect we can confidently set it as a trustworthy advisor for setting the direction of our life.
We no longer allow ourselves to be led by the head, but we use it only as a tool to walk us through our journey safe and sound, and very procedurally!

Quick Advice:
Listen to the heart when it comes to your What and where To’s, and consult your head with the How To’s.