finagle follow up … logic & illogical

Okay. I couldn’t fix my original Finagle’s Law post (http://brucemctague.com/finagles-law) so I thought I would create a part 2.

So. At the foundation of Finagles/Murphys/Yhprums Law is the thought of logical versus the illogical. It is maybe a simpler explanation about the illogical mistakes people tend to make … and how systems that shouldn’t work … work.

Because sometimes the illogical occurs because … well … people are illogical.

Yup. We human-folk consistently make illogical decisions.

Oh. That is actually the entire basis of the entire concept of a brand <having a brand, building a brand, branding, and ‘br’ thought> … anyway … I will get back to the brand discussion a little later.

Let me begin with ‘logical’ because it is a funny concept.

What is logical to one may be illogical to another.

I actually think of it as the sword of trust and doubt.

One sword. Two sharp edges.

Wield the sword smartly and you win. Trust one side too much and it dulls. But we all carry this sword. We all cut through life with trust and doubt.

Ok. Enough with that metaphor.

Look. Trust and doubt isn’t just about “brand” (or building a brand or whatevering a brand) it is also about systems and processes and what works, doesn’t work and shouldn’t work (but does).

Because trust and doubt embodies people. It is what makes the logical in us illogical at the same time. And, inevitably, how the subconscious so often overrides the conscious.

trust & doubt & brands

The constant battle between trust and doubt.

Trust what someone says. Doubt what someone says.

Trust what is. Doubt what is.

And does the trust, or doubt, come from true reality or subconscious prejudgement.

And when trusting people and doubting people crash together you have the makings of Yhprum law.  Systems that shouldn’t work work. It is illogical to those who logically believe the existing system is perfect (or right). And it is often when these come crashing together that shit happens – good and bad. Doubters hesitate to change and those who trust fear to change. And yet the change occurs <inevitably>. Within that change the pendulum of trust and doubt swings back & forth and it almost becomes an illogical test of personal character and fortitude. I imagine my point here is that what I am discussing has nothing to do with the system or process … it has to do with people. And what is in their heads and hearts. And how they react to whatever signals being sent to them by what is happening around them.

Branding falls exactly into the same discussion. It is the attempt to manage the signals that evoke that reaction.

And a brand evokes illogical decisions. Decisions made in the heart and not the head <or the wallet>.

Ok. It’s not really the heart … it’s in the subconscious.

And the subconscious gets driven by two edges of the same sword.

Trust and doubt.

Throw away all the branding books. Brands are as simple – and complicated – as that. Trust can be objective and subjective. Just as doubt can be the same. Creating a successful brand has always been about “doubt management” (note: it can’t be about building trust because trust is earned and not asked for or ‘built’).

And maybe even more today than in the past, because “doubters” have never had such a strong available voice vehicle before, we have to be focused on managing doubts.

I will digress for a minute to give an example using brands.

Tide detergent.

I trust it will make my laundry whiter and colors brighter and smell nice.

Surf detergent.

I doubt it will <see above> as well.

Next. Some ‘granola-eco’ detergent.

I trust it will clean my laundry well and be good for the environment.

Tide detergent.

I doubt it is as good for the environment and <subconsciously> I doubt it is as good as it claims.

Most off all that I wrote happens in the subconscious leading to a conscious decision.

Yeah. A lot of what I just typed really isn’t that logical.

the subconscious

And the illogicality of us is really driven mostly by our subconscious. Sorry about that. While it may be easier for us to grasp ignorance or ‘chosen stupidity’ as the reason for illogical … it is probably more truthful to think about it in terms of the subconscious.

Think about this … the brain, on average, thinks an estimated 60,000 thoughts per day.

It is suggested that your conscious mind is mostly logical and analytical, while your subconscious mind is mostly illogical <I will explain that later>.

Oh. And unfortunately, for the majority, most of our behavior is determined by the subconscious mind.

This is because it is within the subconscious mind where all your memories and experiences are stored. Uh oh.  Sometimes your memories and experiences aren’t all “up to date” therefore it is feeding you thoughts that are no longer true.  In addition it also feeds you thoughts you ‘think’ are true. All of which influences your behavior.

And this behavior can get in the way of what is really true (but we don’t have time to cram in any additional thoughts for the day so we use what we have on hand).

Here is a truth.

While Freud suggested the unconscious is a claustrophobic place full of repressed memories and inappropriate sexual fantasies about one’s parents the actual subconscious is really a place of super-fast data processing, useful survival instincts and behavioral values/modes of action that have been honed by millions of years of evolution.

For example, the subconscious weaves information/input on color, shape, movement and perspective to create the sight actually realized by the conscious part of the mind <note: research has proven this … I am not making it up>.

There is a new book (written by a guy named Mlodinow … actually a theoretical physicist who highlights research evidence of the effects of the subconscious and, especially, by real-time brain-scanning technology that allows researchers to examine what is going on in their subjects’ heads) that suggests plenty of conventional wisdom about how humans behave may need rethinking. In his studies he notes that economic models are built “on the assumption that people make decisions … by consciously weighing the relevant factors” and yet psychological research suggests that, most of the time, people do no such thing. Instead, they act on the basis of simple, unconscious rules that can sometimes produce completely irrational results.

In digging even deeper into the logical/illogical mind Clotaire Rapaille, one of my favorite social behavioralists, has often analyzed the subconscious and conscious (and the logical & illogical) behavior using the following three thinking modules:

–          The Reptilian Complex – Also known as the R-complex or the “reptilian brain” is the oldest part of the brain and is what many believe is the foundational brain module developed as part of its natural survival evolution millions of years ago. The reptilian brain is the most embedded in our natural behavior and is responsible for survival instincts and processes like breathing, circulation, digestion and fight/flight responses.

–          The Limbic System – This region supports functions which include long term memory, emotion and behaviors like finding food and self-preservation.

–          The Neo Cortex – The youngest (or most recently developed) region of the brain is the area that is responsible for planning, logic, creativity, imagination and dreaming.

All of this stuff becomes important as I ponder Finagle’s Law because as pointed out in the first post, people do things that seem so illogical you cannot plan for them.

Well.  You cannot.

Much of the behavior is stored up in people’s subconscious. And, unfortunately for anyone who really wants to assess behavior, it is not just evolutionary learning but, as Rapaille has stated ad nausea, there are personal mental imprints based on experience, emotion and cultural norms are formed in the minds of people when they are very young causing them to make subconscious associations with things that they can’t even identify on conscious levels.

Rapaille also believes that in a three way battle between the limbic, cortical and reptilian brain, the reptilian brain always wins because survival always comes first <whew … this is good news for those of us interested in surviving>. Therefore, he contends that all buying decisions from people are the result of what’s happening in the reptilian brain. And he is correct … except that <referring back to Yhprum’s Law> the decisions go thru a quick filter of experience/beliefs which color the survival instinct. So behavior is ‘basic black & survival with some rich & royal hues added through experiential.’

Regardless. Almost all personal behavior is driven at the subconscious level.

truth and Finagle

All of that smart gobbledygook said.

Here is the good news.

Research also shows that people informed of the biases and ‘outdated experiences’ of their unconscious brains are better at using their conscious minds to overrule them. I had to include that because, in the end, I would like to believe that ‘truth’ can win out.

Anyway.

Let me end by going back to Finagles Law.

Even the most logical thinker will occasionally take a trip to the subconscious brain where some undefinable irrational <slightly illogical> emotion starts screaming at the top of its lungs to create a debilitating distracting behavior.

It is illogical behavior for a logical person.

The irrational is driven by some unerring doubt in what they may believe is truth.

Doubt and truth intersect.

And isn’t that what “what shouldn’t work ends up working” really about?

A crashing together of different people with different logical and illogical thoughts? Where truth among some meets unfailing doubt in others?

My thought for the day?

Maybe Finagle’s Law is really simply illogical behavior cancelling out illogical behavior.

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Written by Bruce