It’s a rare occasion when my husband has to force me to sit down to watch a Brad Pitt movie. Such was the case the other night when, tangentially, he told me about Moneyball, a film about the 1998 Oakland Athletics’s general manager Billy Beane who revolutionized the budget-beleaguered team’s lineup by using basing his choices on hard statistical information rather than the old school feelings of the club’s entrenched members.
My husband, John, told me about a key scene where the old boys in the Oakland A’s ball club are discussing their choices for the lineup. While I was, as usual, enthralled by John’s storytelling—and trapped as I was doing dishes—I knew that, as neither a fan of Brad Pitt or baseball, his retelling of these scenes was leading up to something. That something was the theme of the film: that rational decisions can be made based on hard evidence, scientific observation and deductive reasoning rather than tradition, feelings, and mumbo-jumbo superstition that frequently permeates emotionally charged arenas like professional sports. John went on to talk about his realm of expertise—civic politics—and how such simple gathering and analysis of real data could ultimately build better, more livable cities.
I came away from the film with that in mind, too, and realized I could apply that basic principle to everyday things. For instance, I recently moved all the Tupperware from a high shelf to a drawer. Sounds silly and mundane, but when I finally did it, it was a revelation. Not only was it easier to access all my empty yogurt containers and sandwich boxes without having them all cascade down on my head in an avalanche, but I also had more room for them, and they were easier to organize. You might think, well, that’s an obvious and rational decision; truth is, the only reason I had them stored on the high shelf in the first place was because that was where my mother kept her reusable containers. Now I’ve no idea why either of us ever put them there.
If we all stopped to think about the way we do things, and made changes based on logic and data rather than tradition, what could you change about your life? Would you take a different route to work? Buy different toilet paper? What do you wish you could know that would help you make decisions, big and small, about your life? Instead of acting on gut instinct or feelings in some emotional situations, do you think you could calmly and rationally collect data and evidence to either support your choices or make you consider other avenues? What kinds of decisions would you never leave to cold, hard facts? What things will you absolutely not budge on despite evidence to the contrary?
Let me know in the comments below!