It Just Doesn’t Make Sense

11 Jan

Imagine you’re managing a team of colleagues and you assign them what you think is a pretty straightforward task. You leave them to figure it out and come back in 2 days. When they present their work, you’re flabbergasted. “But,” you cry out, “that approach makes no sense! Why would you think that was logical?!”

End scene. Pause. And think about it. Logic is a tricky beast. Philosophers, mathematicians and countless others have spent centuries trying to work through the different kinds of reasoning skills humans possess. But what I’m talking about here isn’t deductive logic or something like that: it’s the idea of internal logic. In other words, the  system of reasoning that lives within your own brain and governs your individual actions.

Now, that workplace scenario I described above could happen for a couple different reasons. It could be that the employees simply don’t understand their job as well as they should, and made a weird decision. But on the other hand, they could have made a decision that really did come from sensible consideration: it’s just that their judgement system differs from yours. And so what they thought made total sense, you see as rubbish. They really did hunker down and think about it, they really did do what they thought was best… and it just doesn’t match what YOU would have done.

I’ve always been curious about this discrepancy between internal logic systems. It’s hard to fully get my mind around it, and to be fair, I haven’t ever studied it from the academic point of view. But sometimes I just don’t understand  how we can rectify decision-making among people with different brains, because we all operate with slightly different “processors,” if you will. Obviously there’s such things as good judgement, street smarts etc to help guide us. But sometimes you check off all the boxes that pop up in your head, and you still make a poor decision. And sometimes you think through all the criteria that seem important, and still do something that others find foolish. Perhaps the answer is simply that some people have sharper logic skills than others, and those are the people who make the “right decisions.” I’m willing to accept that answer, I suppose. But the next time you’re about to tell someone that what they said/did makes no sense- see if you can figure out why they did it. Maybe you’ll still think they’re wrong. But maybe you won’t!



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