On this particular Pi Day, a celebratory occasion honoring the mathematical constant that never ends and never settles into a permanent repeating pattern, we honor irrationality.
What does it mean to be irrational, and why do we glorify it?
Perhaps because we can relate to it. As Dan Ariely, author of “The Upside of Irrationality” said, “When it comes to our motivations, we are less like hyper-rational Mr. Spock and more like the fallible, myopic, vindictive, emotional, biased Homer Simpson.”
Which leads me to the rainbow sprinkles. As a Registered Dietitian and a mindful yogi–particularly around the choices I make about nourishing my body–I found myself needing rainbow sprinkles this week. Before a 7:30 PM appointment my partner and I decided to venture out to the local grocer located in the opposite direction of our appointment at 6:45 PM, in hopes to get there before they closed at 7 PM. After successfully acquiring the sprinkles and completing the appointment, we then ventured to a local creamery where we grabbed a couple of scoops to go, and headed home (because the gluten-free ice cream cones were not available at the creamery, only in our pantry.) What comes after that was just a half-melted, successfully sprinkled, non-nutrient dense but absolutely delicious example of complete irrationality.
It is in our human nature to behave irrationally: thinking, talking, and acting without being reasonable. There is no doubt that the amount of non-optimal decisions we make far outweigh those that are optimal. Of course I am aware that the sugar, hydrogenated palm kernel oil, corn starch, corn syrup, red 40, yellow 5, blue 1, and soy lecithin are not ideal for my health. Of course I am aware that going the wrong way in rush hour traffic 30 minutes before an appointment to get sprinkles probably isn’t the most logical decision. Of course I am aware of the juxtaposition of putting said ingredients in a “gluten-free” 12 calorie cone. Still, the sprinkles won.
Whatever kind of “sprinkles” you are enabling in your day-to-day, it’s important to note that we all behave unreasonably at times, and acknowledge what’s been proven psychologically impactful and essential to the learning process: a willingness to be wrong. As it turns out understanding cognitive biases and irrational tendencies along with a willingness to misstep are incredibly crucial components of learning.
Perhaps our insensibilities are not so insensible after all.
On this day of veneration for 3.14159265359…remember that you too are immeasurable, non-duplicative, and in fact, an irrational expansion. Celebrate every step. Let your life and decisions be your teacher. Embrace every new direction–even the most ridiculous ones–that are unquestionably capable of facilitating growth beyond your boundaries.