February 23, 2018

The decision to buy – emotion or logic?

Three people, two shaking handsOur rational brain, and our education for that matter, would like us to believe that people make a decision to buy based on logic and the facts – that’s “buy” as in literally a sale, or perhaps just a decision to pay attention to someone or invest in their ideas.

In fact…

Rather more often than we might imagine, I believe, decisions to buy are based on emotion – how we feel.

Perhaps we might hide the emotional decision behind a veneer of logic.

The thing is…

How often are you handling a relationship thinking it’s a logical “sale,” when actually it’s more of an emotional decision, or perhaps vice versa?

How do you decide which you’re dealing with?

The reasons people buy from you might not be what you imagine at all.

Did Andy Murray struggle with tears because he lost or because we cared?

Andy MurrayWimbledon… Andy Murray is expected to speak on live TV to millions of people having just lost to Roger Federer in the final, and struggles to compose himself as you can see here if you missed it at the time.

Some commentators wrote that he was in tears because he lost.


Andy Murray struggled with tears because people cared. Probably a few key people caring would have been enough; in fact there were some tens of thousands immediately present and millions beyond.

Fascinating that some of the commentators completely missed the point of the human drama.

Turns out Roger Federer agrees the caring is the thing that tips you over, as he makes clear in this video.

The power of such a large scale emotional connection is enormous. Overwhelming for the athlete expected to speak and, in other contexts, the stuff of changing the world.

So much, so obvious, we might think, but apparently not. And that lack of understanding wherever it arises represents an opportunity.

Not where you’d like to be?

Bridge across a gapWe’re pretty used to being clear about what we want, what our vision is—clear enough that if it showed up, we’d recognize it.

But what if we can’t get to that straightaway?

That’s where “creative tension” comes in.

Creative tension is what Peter Senge (author of “The Fifth Discipline”) calls the gap between our vision and our current reality, which may not wholly fit with what we want.

Part of the practise of “personal mastery” is being able to sit with both a vision in mind, and a clear view of our current reality (and the emotions that go with it), and accepting the difference between them, and just being cool with it.

Now here’s the good bit…

If we hold this creative tension diligently, accepting the gap between where we are and where we want to be, and not stressing about it even as we work away to move toward our vision, it’s funny how our environment starts to rearrange itself in such a way as to close the gap. Things show up that help us move toward our vision; people get that we’re on a journey and support us; they accept that things are changing.

How does this work?

Well, we could go metaphysical about it and say that we manifest the change we want, but even at a prosaic level, somehow we just give off clear signals about what we’re looking for that others respond to, and, at the same time, we’re ready to recognize opportunity when it appears. They key is calmness. Nothing flows without the calmness.

Being OK with the creative tension of a gap between where we are and where we’d like to be not only helps us get there, but sets us free from stress in the meantime.

Pretty cool, I think.

And part of being an inspirational leader.

What’s your experience of this?

(With grateful thanks to Peter Senge and Robert Hanig for my own learning here.)