We all go about things in our own way, right? We’re all individuals expressing ourselves uniquely, and the way we act or react depends greatly on our individual personalities and internal processes and methods.

Most of the time, let’s say even the vast majority of the time, like 99% of the time, our own way works just fine for us. We get through life—how we interact with others, how we make decisions, how we respond to our social environments—just famously.

However, something important must be acknowledged: If I work in my own way, that means everybody else works in their own way as well! And I simply can’t get through life without other people. Check out a previous blog, Other People, for an in-depth discussion of this blatantly obvious fact.

I’ve discussed interacting with others for benefit in previous blogs. Now I am turning to Deciding and Achieving. What THEE illustrates is that, in general, there are seven basic methods for deciding and achieving. Let’s take a look at the rationalist, from the inside and out.

Inside the Rationalist 

You’ve simply got to have a plan. 

The only way to achieve is to know what you want, know how you’re going to go about it, set goals and objectives , and determine what you expect to happen as a result of your actions. It is imperative that you are specific, detailed, and clear. 

 Anything else is a recipe for failure. 

 We all want things: make more money, make an impact, advance in our careers, land that big account, etc. Great! How are you going to do it? If you don’t make that clear, don’t expect to get anywhere at all. Anything else is just blind fumbling, hoping that success happens to fall in your lap. 

Progress must happen in a structured environment or loose ends and individual agendas will dominate the conversation and halt forward movement. Heed the old saying: “Measure twice, cut once.” 

Who is this? 

If this sounds like you, you might be a rationalist.

You’re a bastion of clarity amidst the chaos. You’re the go-to person for creating a clear picture when others can’t see a path ahead of them. While others are flinging ideas into the ether, you’re the one providing a method for actually achieving them in a rational, logical, step-by-step, if not sometimes, idealistic fashion, which is quite useful indeed.

You inspire others to take focused action and get things done.

You’d make a great corporate planner or consultant and you are best suited in a well-structured and stable situation.

Outside the Rationalist 

 If this doesn’t sound like you, you probably operate using one of the other six methods for deciding and achieving.

 If you aren’t a rationalist when it comes to deciding and achieving, well, you handle decisions in some other way that you are convinced is generally best. And how you view the rationalist preoccupation with problems, facts and best solutions will be dependent on that.

 For example:

  • A pragmatist might look to a rationalist and think: “All your plans amount to occupied shelf space and no real action. You’ve got to just jump on a good opportunity when it’s there for the taking.” 
  • An imaginist might wonder: “Where are the ethereal, but essential elements of productivity like inspiration, commitment, and creativity?” 
  • A systemicist might ask: “Things change. Is there room in your plan for the infinite number of outside factors that could affect every step of the process? Maybe even the ultimate goal will change over time and as more information is discovered. We cannot be so rigid.”  
The rationalist approach is incredibly valuable in some situations and it would do us all a bit of good to learn to use it when appropriate. Setting goals and objectives and expectations is a great way for anyone to more fully understand the paths they choose to walk.

Furthermore, it is good to understand the rationalist. They are highly sought-after and chances are, a rationalist originally outlined many of your endeavors.

Check in next week for the structuralist.

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