Seth Godin’s Akimbo: Everybody is Irrational

In his Akimbo podcast, Seth Godin teaches us how to adopt a posture of possibility, change the culture, and choose to make a difference. Here are my takeaways from the episode.

In this podcast, Seth discussed being rational and why people are generally irrational by using a couple of his early business ventures as an example.

When we think of people being rational, we believe they are going to do things that make sense. We like people to be rational mainly because it can help us predict what people are going to do.

While rational behavior plays a crucial role in our decision-making process, we find life can be unpredictable at times. We see people doing irrational things and cause confusion and chaos. We need to recognize a few key lessons about rational behaviors.

First, people may appear to us to be irrational, even though everyone thinks they are acting in rational ways. The viewpoints are indeed contradicting.

Second, we often decide that the rational thing people are going to do is what we would do in that situation. This thinking can lead us to incorrect assumptions and, when things do not work out as we expected, we think others are acting irrationally.

What is true is that everybody acts rationally by our measure. Everyone decides what to do based on what we know, what we believe, what we want, and those noises in our head.

As soon as we realize that everyone has a noise in our head, that noise can be very different based on our life experience. As soon as we recognize that no one is willingly, willfully, and intentionally making irrational, random choices, we have a shot at developing genuine empathy.

Empathy says, “You don’t know what I know. You don’t want what I want. And that’s okay.” As difficult it is for us to accept, people do not necessarily want what we think they want.

Most of us like to believe that we are rational. When we are making too many assumptions about what we would do and what being reasonable is, we find out that we are not irrational, and neither is anyone else.

By developing genuine empathy about others, we can overcome the barriers and connect with others more easily.