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Oprah is right – Aristotle got it wrong!

Market emotions + logic = instinct for profit and loss

Oprah knows and uses her instincts:

“Follow your instincts. That’s where true wisdom manifests itself” – Oprah Winfrey

Oprah is right and investors can benefit by being open to her advice. Following it can help grow profits and avoid losses.

Instinct is our subconscious mind working for us. We must listen as well as use it to think and act.

Over 2,300 years ago Greek philosopher Aristotle laid the foundation of logical and scientific thought. This established the fact and evidence based process that underlies the legal, education and scientific systems of the western world.

It is the very base of western civilization. It has produced huge advances in human development and scientific achievement.

Centuries of educators refined and handed down this process. It lays the foundation of our culture and way of life. Education systems based on it teach facts and process.

Oprah is right, Aristotle was only half right

Aristotle got conscious thought and logic right. Unfortunately he dismissed the contribution of our subscious. Not making up for that oversight leaves us with a half-minded system!

That huge miss limits the perception of most people. In our schools, we are taught to use only use half our mind! Generally we do not ask educators to teach the use of our subconscious or emotions, notions and instinct.

This means that our education system all but completely ignores the use of half our our minds. That means generations educated in the western tradition go through life handicapped by limited perception. We ignore an immense portion of human mental ability and potential.

Computer image of Aristotele generated by Kolja Mendler

Image of Aristotele generated by Kolja Mendler

This does not suggest ignoring or downplaying logic, fact or evidence. Rather it suggest we can benefit by adding to it. It argues that bringing in and acknowledging the use of your subconscious mind, emotions and instinct can make better investors. Do it and profit.

How does the mind work?

The process of human thinking has been explored from the beginning of civilization. So far it remains fairly poorly understood. The best explanation I ever heard fits well with my experience. I find it fascinating and intriguing.

In that explanation the mind first subconsciously processes and evaluates thoughts and stimulation. This subconscious process occurs at a strictly emotional level. The full range of emotional options are processed to produce a “recommended” solution or response.

The single or at most a very limited number of options then well up to the conscious mind. Our feelings and subconscious mind release only the best recommended option for consideration by the conscious mind.

At that point we have our first conscious awareness of the thought. Our conscious mind then continues processing. It constructs the logical framework around that preferred emotional notion or response. That is how your mind can often arrive at the right or most beneficial answer before you can explain it.

Only then do we construct the logical base for the argument or decision. This logical framework, demanded by our culture and education, can then “sell” the correct emotional answer in a acceptably logical package.

Likewise the “buyer” can accept the logic of the answer or solution. This “game” is a core part of our culture that can puzzle people from different traditions and cultures.

Applying the knowledge

Successful leaders, salespeople, politicians, storytellers and marketers may not be able to explain this. But they certainly know it. It gets used every day. Their presentation or argument may be “logical” but that is just a carrier for the delight, fright or call to action that plays on our emotions.

Skilled practitioners move us with anger, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness and surprise. These are six exceptionally powerful buttons. They are tools for good or evil that also drive profits and losses.

How are your buttons getting pushed?

We can turn this knowledge to our advantage when it comes to learning and understanding market behavior. Doing so can open doors to profit and help avoid losses.

We will explore the combination of Oprah and Aristotle and investing on their ideas in our future conversations.

Your comments and questions are welcome here. Pay it forward, please share this blog. The bite sized White Top Investor lessons are intended to demystify investing. You can become a knowledgeable confident investor, one small step at a time. Please ask questions, I can help you better understand markets and investing. The White Top Views email list will not be shared or sold.

Have a prosperous day!
White Top Investor
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Image public domain and courtesy Kolja Mendler

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