Using Reason to Your Advantage
Everything happens for a reason. What are your reasons?
There is a meme going around the internet – everything happens for a reason and sometimes the reason is that you were stupid and made a bad decision. Can’t argue with that.
Given that things happen for a reason and that sometimes the reason is because we made a bad decision, we should probably try to stop making bad decisions. This is easier said than done. Which is why using your faculty of reason is so darned important.
Reason is defined as: the power of the mind to think, understand, and form judgments by a process of logic. There is a reason why this definition of reason (ie: the power to think) is tied linguistically to the definition of reason as causal. Reason is both the thought of whether we should do something and the act of actual doing that causes whatever it is to happen.
We humans cannot and should not separate out our actions from our thoughts. Acting without thinking is considered rash for a reason. It causes all sorts of unforeseen problems. Unforeseen because we didn’t bother to think about what might happen before we decided to act. If we had taken the time to think – we would have foreseen the problems and possibly avoided them. That’s why we are constantly reminded to think before we act.
The best way to ensure that your reasoning is reasonable is to make sure that you take the time to consider consequences and alternatives before deciding on a course of action. You don’t have to be psychic to foresee problems in your future; you just have to take the time to consider the possible consequences. No magic required. Just reasoned thought will do.
Here’s how to use reason to your advantage: Ask yourself some questions.
What do you want to accomplish? Will what you want to do help you to accomplish that? If not, what else might you do that will give you a better outcome? It doesn’t take a lot of time to think of these questions and to answer them for yourself And if you do, I promise you your decision making will improve a bit.
You will notice the first question is the most important one. What is it you really want to accomplish by acting? Without knowing what it is you want to accomplish, you aren’t going to accomplish much of anything useful. Without a goal, you have no way to judge whether or not what you are doing will help you accomplish your goal or not.
Will this solve all your problems? No, but it will help you to solve them more effectively. If you want to learn more about how to use your reasoning skills more effectively and consistently, consider these books and programs:
Humanist Approach to Happiness – for parents looking to have these conversations with their teens and for young adults trying to figure out how to make better decisions.
Living Made Simpler – a 6 hour course on how to make better decision and how to integrate your ethics into your decision making so that you can use reason to your advantage.
Planning for Personal Success – 1 hour 45 minute online video program – Setting goals that will help you be more successful and fulfilled.