Author and marketer, Dale Carnegie famously said: “When dealing with people, remember, you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but creatures of emotion.” The popular belief that “emotions are the curse of logic” places logic and emotion in an antagonist relationship. However, as Carnegie points out, once we accept humanity as more emotionally-driven than rational, we can make peace with our nature.
Recent neuroscience concerning decision-making seeks to identify just how our mental processes works. In Forbes’s “How The Most Common Emotions Affect Business Decision Making And What To Do About It,” Erik Larson claims that “scientists have found that without emotions we [would] become completely ineffective at making decisions.” Neurologist, Antonio Damasio, came to a similar conclusion in his book, Descartes’ Error. Damasio claimed that the separation of mind and body, of logic and emotion was in fact an “error.”
There is also a profound connection between memory and emotion based on our capacity to create and store powerful internal images. Ask someone to recall where they were when they learned of the 9/11 attacks and most likely, they can paint a visual picture of the scene for you. As human beings, our combination of memory backed by potent feelings allows us to recall important information in a truly functional way. The stronger the emotion, the more powerful the memory, the more it resonates in our being.
So where does logic come in? One place it can be seen is in classical rhetoric. Rhetoric, defined as the combination of persuasion and argumentation, is derived from the teachings of Aristotle and Plato. The main thrust of classical rhetoric suggests the emotional impact of any narrative is essential to the retention of its meaning.
The power of narrative is something that should not be overlooked. As the co-creators of our own lives, our ongoing role is to inspire, compel, and persuade. No matter what we do or what business we are in, we have the capacity to shape meaning through hearts and minds (emotionally and logically.)
Every day we write the stories of our lives through running narratives. This doesn’t mean all of us are writing things down or penning articles or books—instead, each of one of us is constantly telling stories to get what we want. Just think about the stories we tell every day to get what we desire. The server informs his table how the fresh salmon came to be on the menu. The lawyer narrates her client’s actions in court.
Once we recognize life is made up of lots of little stories told by different people and that these are most effectively understood through the filter of our emotions, we can better achieve what we seek.
The power of the narrative extends to all facets of our lives. Let’s use it wisely.
At Ink Wordsmiths, we specialize in content marketing empowering professionals to connect with their audiences in an emotional way that converts. If you are interested in learning more about our process, contact me today @firstname.lastname@example.org.