A rational person’s 1-minute guide to why rational thinking often fails to persuade people

We believe so strongly in the idea that logic, evidence, and data are the only acceptable tools for persuasion, that we feel bewildered and frustrated whenever we interact with someone who doesn’t hold these same values.

Frustration leads to less than kind communication, because it’s very difficult to be frustrated and kind at the same time.

Those who are repeatedly belittled and trapped by self-identified logical/rational thinkers will create new values and beliefs to protect themselves because nobody likes feeling belittled and trapped.

And those values and beliefs will not be exactly illogical, just designed to reject anything valued as fact/logic by the opposition.

Enter: denialism. Which also happens to be the first stage of grief.

For those who value and believe in the power of rationality as a thinking tool, it becomes rational to revisit rationality as a method of persuasion, because it fails to produce results.

It’s time to toss that hypothesis and look for a better one, just like we’re asking others to do.

Can we move past denialism on this topic, through anger, and right into bargaining, depression, and eventually acceptance? I think so.

In fewer words:


Agree or disagree?




Learn the life-changing art of productive disagreement.

Recommended from Medium

Love, Independence & A Little Bit of Peter Pan

Who decided that divorce is a failure? — Tamara Mendelson

Love In Many Forms

How I was before I made a mistake!

Online Dirt: A Few Things to Think About When Looking Up Your Ex

What Actually Happened In The Brutal Murder Of Rebecca “Becky” Watts?

Spot the Narcissist: 7 Signs You Might Be Dating a Narcissist

Sweet Farm Life, the Antidote to Bitterness.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Buster Benson

Buster Benson

Author of Why Are We Yelling? — a book about the art of productive disagreement. I run 750words.com. Previously product at Patreon, Slack, Twitter, and Amazon.

More from Medium

Dear God! Are We Really No Better Than Animals?

hyenas eating animal carcas

Growing Water Conservation Efforts Within Doral Academy’s Student Body

Research Finds New Hallmarks of Cancer

colorized microscopic image of cells

A Day in the Life of a Research Scholar