The Attitude Lounge: Being Objective  


“The names of the leopard and the lizard are similar, but not their bodies.” – Akan proverb

Decisions, decisions and decisions. They spiral round us in a motion like the rotations and revolving orbits of planets and moons around the sun. For a surprising majority among us – and in most cases, decision-making is quite simple. This is because we utilise our emotional abilities rather than employ a logical analysis of events. And why not. Our emotions are quicker to appraise and summarise an experience than any rational process. They save us the trouble of thinking through and weighing options.

More often, we use some degree of logic in our emotional decisions. However, the dominant force in the decision-making process is emotions. We use emotions to either override logic or uses a pseudo-logic to support emotional choices. Some other times, we begin the decision-making process in a logical process and then harness our emotions to finalise it. All in all, such attitudes do not give much room for objectivity to thrive.

This is where many of our everyday misunderstandings and challenges stem from. We make decisions mostly based on our emotions and expect those we relate with to appreciate what we do. We forget, not conveniently though, it has more to do with unawareness; that those others also interpret what we decide on with their emotions as well. So, as we kick our emotions into drive, they also do same. And since we cannot all be on the same wavelength all the time, more often than not we end up with misunderstandings and miscommunications.

This is not to say emotions are not good. No way. In actuality they are so brilliant, as they serve as a cueing mechanism for us. They direct our attentions to physiological happenings around us and ready us to take action. They enable us to know what to do and when to do it.

For example, when your boss is not in a good mood, your emotions warn you that it is not the best time to discuss a pay-rise with him or her. Bosses should also take into consideration the moods of their employees before they break certain news to them. Unfortunately, life is so ‘top-down’ only the emotions of our superiors are considered. We need to understand that such an imbalance stifles creativity.

What’s interesting about life is that despite all the emotions dictating our aspirations and communications, we are supposed to relate to each other in ways that are objective. This is even more essential when we consider the number of times our emotions have misfired. It is a warning that should inspire us into strivimg to minimise the impact of our emotions on our everyday relationships. We have got to learn to evaluate our emotional triggers and find meaningful ways of responding to them in ways which very often allow objectivity to thrive in our communications and relationships.

Humans claim to be logical beings, and they claim to be emotional beings as well. Such claims make for interesting observations. It is probably not strange that research shows when an individual agrees with a particular message or course of action, they deem it to be more logical. And when they disagree, they see that course of action or message to be laden with emotions instead of reason. We all are perpetrators of such attitudes. Well, these happen because we rely on a combination of rationality and emotions in all that we do. It is also a sign that we need both all the time, not sometimes.

The way forward is to become aware of our feelings in every situation and find ways to express them, and push them through the logical process in order to shift away the prejudice and pride so we can skew the outcome toward objectivity. We need to start with an appreciation that not all what we think and feel about life is the truth.

Yes, our emotions will always enable us to respond to experiences in certain manners, but that does not make them genuine. They are our personal responses. Most often, we come to conclusions based on personal interest. To reach objectivity, we must understand the facts within the experience and subject ourselves to the process of reaching a conclusion based on evidence.

Emotions alone would create too many fallacies, while rationality alone is almost impossible because we are not machines. The right balance needs to be struck when making decisions. We should encourage each other to discover the right blend of emotions and rationality so that decisions made feel right, look right and are advantageous to all stakeholders. We should always appreciate the fact that experiences are transitory events. Life is not and will never be stuck in that moment. Thus, we need the flexibility of allowing ourselves to be fully human, being emotional and rational at the same time. Neither on its own is the right gauge of what is real. We need a combination of both each time.


Kodwo Brumpon is a partner at Brumpon & Kobla Ltd., a forward-thinking Pan African management consultancy and social impact firm driven by data analytics, with a focus on understanding the extraordinary potential and needs of organisations and businesses to help them cultivate synergies which catapult them into their strategic growth and certify their sustainability.

Comments, suggestions and requests for talks and training should be sent to him at kodwo@brumponand

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