By Ori and Rom Brafman
When I was in high school, my school went above and beyond pushing every student towards college or trade school. All the counselors used a saying to start every college and career readiness meeting: “Begin with the end in mind.” As a teenager, start every day and make every decision based on your goals and ambitions. Focus on what you want out of life to guide you out the doors of high school and into the real world! After reading Sway: The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behavior, I realize how dangerous that advice can be. Sway takes a look inside why we as humans make erratic decisions and opinions that negatively affect our overall goals.
Realizing Irrational Behavior
Ori and Rom Brafman are talented writers who compiled the data and stories between the covers of this book to resonate with readers and provide accounts that prove how self-destructive, and counter-productive our choices can be. A world-renowned pilot caused the deadliest plane crash in history. Harvard students competed and paid $204 for a twenty-dollar bill. The world around us affects each of us in extraordinary ways. The ignorance of others can silence our success. Our own short-sightedness can leave us blind. Sway ‘s take on irrational behavior opened my own eyes to my own irrational behavior.
Growing up in today’s society brings a lot of expectations. Simultaneously, the old ways of the world or even certain professions can leave us stagnant. The Brafman’s emulate this idea perfectly through NBA draft pick stats and college football plays. Along with real-world examples, Sway uses standard scenarios every person goes through. Sometimes we don’t know when to let go of a toxic relationship despite every red flag possible. We can sometimes sit at a desk for twenty years, then we look back to realize how much we hated it.
Hindsight is 20/20, but Sway challenges us and directs us on how we can avoid irrational behavior. Our irrational behavior makes sense to us at that moment but leaves us kicking ourselves when we reflect. “How did I not see this coming?” “Why didn’t I go about this differently?” Sway helped to make this reader aware of the choices I make and how I can think critically in the moment. The idea we all need to understand is that irrational behavior hardly ever feels like the latter at the moment. When our eyes are directed too far or in the wrong direction, we lose sight of what is actually happening here and now.
Everyone wishes they would’ve said something different in an argument after pondering it for days. Everyone has been overconfident only to have it blow up in their faces. Breaking down these basic psychological processes and studying others helps us to recognize the paths around it. Irrational behavior can stem from your own thoughts and actions or even from others. Learning how to prepare for these instances mentally and thinking about every major decision critically will improve your life.
Sway: The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behavior is a great book that completely changed the way I think. Young people coming into the real world need this book to help them avoid irrational behavior, despite their good intentions. The insight, data, and real-life events as told by the Brafman brothers make any reader aware of their past and present decisions in order to help improve their future ones.