I’m one of the irrational ones

Written by on April 3, 2010 in Faith and Spiritual Life, Notes By The Way with 0 Comments

I skim quite a few blogs using Google Reader, but I can count on one hand those that I read carefully. Seth Godin’s blog is on my shortlist (and I know I’m not alone). He consistently has insights that cut through my senses and call me to attention. Today he struck twice.

First, in typical Godin style, he reminds me to dare. One large “success” outweighs dozens of failures. I use quote marks, because we all have different ideas of success. Still, the principle holds. As Godin writes,

If you spend your days avoiding failure by doing not much worth criticizing, you’ll never have a shot at success. Avoiding the thing that’s easy to survive keeps you from encountering the very thing you’re after.

Simple, right? Well, I need reminders like this almost every day. That’s about how often I find myself tempted toward doing things I can’t fail at.

But it gets better. His next post speaks directly to something I’ve long believed. The best choices in life are not always the rational ones. Love, faith, art…such things don’t require rational explanations. In fact, something vital is lost when forcing such realities into rationality. We can celebrate the irrationality of something without sacrificing its truth.

Godin asks, “Are you rational?

Yeah, sometimes, but I’m probably less overtly rational than the average person. Yet I’m pretty intense about why I do things and about what is true (even if I don’t see truth clearly but from a distance).

What I appreciated was Godin’s closing thought:

There’s room for both rational and irrational decision making, and I think we do best when we choose our path in advance instead of pretending to do one when we’re actually doing the other. The worst thing we can do is force one when we actually need the other.

This is both reasonable and encouraging for someone like me. There are times for both rational and irrational decision making, and it’s best to discern and acknowledge which mode I’m in and have the tenacity and/or courage to follow through.

Fortunately, failure is not the worst case scenario. If it was,  I suppose the world would be led by rational decision makers alone, and it would be quite a bit less interesting.

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About the Author

About the Author: Andy Gray is a writer and photographer living in Phnom Penh, Cambodia and working with Alongsiders International. You can find him puttering around the streets of Phnom Penh on his Suzuki Viva 125, running stoplights and driving on the wrong side of the road or on the sidewalks like a local. If you see him in a coffee shop, he'll be the one typing and deleting the same line over and over again. .

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