When were you last dumbfounded at the irrational choices otherwise intelligent, well-balanced people like those pictured here make? Even when offered a great solution to a blindingly obvious problem, they sometimes turn it down for no seemingly good reason. Why?

For example, have you noticed how violently most smokers respond to evidence that smoking is unhealthy? Pot smokers also become irrational when confronted with medical evidence that smoking pot has real, measurable, negative consequences, especially for young brains. ( I can only assume it’s too late once they stumble into adulthood.)

We’ve all seen the popular video of Mark Dice offering passers-by the choice between a bar of genuine silver and a chocolate bar; the overwhelming majority chose the chocolate bar.

“Not impossible, Robert, just unthinkable. The human mind has a primitive ego defense mechanism that negates all realities that produce too much stress for the brain to handle. It’s called denial.” From Dan Brown’s Inferno.

This is also referred to a Cognitive Dissonance: there’s a tendency for individuals to seek consistency among their cognitions (i.e., beliefs, opinions). When there is an inconsistency between attitudes or behaviors (dissonance), something must change to eliminate that dissonance.

We seek evidence to support our dominant beliefs, no matter how dangerous, destructive, or illogical those beliefs are, and we refuse, ignore, or viciously attack evidence that doesn’t fit what we believe. We seem to have a need to justify years of dumb choices instead of making sensible changes; being proven wrong is not something the average person is comfortable with. Their addiction to comfort leads directly to the frog in boiling water analogy, of course.

More from Dan Brown’s excellent book: “A recent web-tracking study of students at some Ivy League universities revealed that even highly intellectual users displayed an instinctual tendency toward denial. According to the study, the vast majority of university students, after clicking on a depressing news article…would quickly exit that page in favor of something trivial that purged their minds of fear; favorite choices included sports highlights, funny cat videos, and celebrity gossip.”

People will do more to alleviate pain than to gain a benefit, too. And they follow the brainwashed, deluded crowd, guided by the government controlled media. That is why most would prefer to fool themselves with the old, outdated, no longer relevant concept of “job security” than become entrepreneurs and control their own lives.

SO… know when to stop casting your pearls before swine. Move on to those who are ready to hear your message instead of trying to convince a closed, fearful mind.

Robin Elliott    LeverageAdvantage.com