By BRIAN DALY
If we want to implement logical, rational solutions to the problems we are facing – in the workplace or in the world – we have to ensure they are conveyed and implemented in a way that is emotionally palatable. For we humans are emotional beings.
To illustrate the point, here’s a story from my Uni days, when I shared a place in North Wollongong with a mate of mine. For the purposes of this article, let’s call him ‘Brad’ (because that was his name). Brad was a Maths major. Smart fellow. Very logical, most of the time.
One night Brad, ever the scientist, proved incontrovertibly that emotion wins out over logic every time.
In the early evening, we spied a huntsman spider on the brick wall of our apartment. For those of you unfamiliar with a huntsman, it is a big hairy bastard of a spider – completely harmless to humans but big and hairy nonetheless.
We started to ponder why these spiders freaked people out so much. ‘They’re perfectly harmless,’ said Brad, ‘it makes no sense at all,’ said Brad, ‘live and let live,’ said Brad, ‘what’s on tele?’ and so on. There was no false bravado, just a genuine intrigue into the common but irrational fear evoked by these affable arachnids.
And so we left the spider to go about its business, and we went about ours.
Sometime later, Brad was fixing himself a snack at the kitchen bench, whence there came the highest-pitch squeal that was ever heard to emanate from a betesticled human being.
‘GET IT OFF ME. GET IT OFF ME!!!’ he shrieked. Our friendly huntsman had dropped from the ceiling onto Brad’s chest. Apparently, the spider had been listening in on our conversation. I’m not sure if he thought he’d just get better acquainted with his newfound, logical friends, or if he was a bit upset that we didn’t buy his whole ‘scary’ routine. Either way, he certainly got a reaction.
Brad was flapping his arms about wildly, but was still unwilling to touch the hairy beast on his chest.
I sprung into action, and armed with nothing but a slightly damp tea-towel, managed to shuffle the huntsman out the window.
Brad’s mood transformed immediately – from fear to relief, to embarrassment, to irony, to hilarity.
The emotional effect of this spider on Brad was immense, and only serves to illustrate the fact that at times of high emotional intensity, it is difficult to maintain a logical, rational outlook. That’s why, when we are looking at implementing change, especially the level of change we need in the world today, we need to acknowledge and work through the emotional responses to those changes. They may be completely irrational but, as the Bradspider Effect demonstrates, they are no less real.
Image by fir0002flagstaffotos [at] gmail.comCanon 20D + Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 – Own work, GFDL 1.2, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=925073