Our emotions are the reason we can choose to act with sentiments or otherwise, to act rational or irrational and as human beings, we need to be aware that it is wrong to assume that man is expected or can be expected to always act in a rational manner, that is a wrong perception of man.
Emotions play a huge part in determining our behavior, and our development of the right emotions is a very essential aspect of our personal and professional life. We most times blame our emotions especially when we make wrong decisions, but in Dr. Ogunyemi’s class, I have learnt that emotions do not control us, our choices do (the power of free choice). The earlier we begin to take responsibilities for our action, the better for us as humans. It is almost impossible to grow when we don’t take account of the choices we make, owning up is growth in itself!
This reminds me of the case study shared with us in class, a video of a company called Trafigura, established in 1993 with its head office in Geneva. In 2006 they chose to drop their deadly toxic waste product in Ivory coast (specifically in some cities/sites in Abidjan), the country at this time was already going through a hard time economically, poverty rate very high and living was almost unbearable. The residents in the 12 different sites affected had their source of livelihood as fishermen over, their fishes began to die, it also brought about human death to both old and young, skin rashes, respiratory issues and pregnant women suffered greatly. Those affected were in their tens of thousands all because of a company’s poor choice.
Trafigura’s emotions and sentiments played on a terrible path to the extent that lives were negatively affected. Even though they paid the government of Ivory Coast lots of money as compensation, but one question I asked was, ‘did it bring back the dead? Did they even understand the gravity of the wrong done? Or was it just about the money? Have they learnt to make better decisions?’ I asked all of these questions because up to this day, Trafigura never admitted/owned up, this speaks volume about human’s rational and irrational behavior and approach to things, the power of choice and its impact on lives (people). It also makes me wonder the kind of decision makers Trafigura had (employed) at this time, making such decision knowing fully well of the negative effect, but it didn’t matter how many people got hurt, they wanted to save cost, they broke due process, it was about money for them and not lives.
It is worthy to note that we cannot change our emotions but there is room to continuously give it sound education which will translate into making good decisions and considering others in our choices. Our freedom to ‘drive’ anyhow as a matter of choice neglects the true situation of something that will end up being destructive. Yes, we have the freewill of choice, being free (freedom) gives us the full right to be in-charge of our lives, to choose good over evil but it is not just about free choices, it is more about making good choices (I call this ‘ethically sound decision’). Your ability of choice as a person is you making use of your freedom which in-turn shapes your character, this means character can be shaped intentionally.
I would like to round off by saying that, before making any decision about anything, first as a human being, a CEO, manager, entrepreneur etc., consider other parties involved, of what effect will it have on them? Will it impact positively or otherwise? If the essence of your choice is not building/shaping your character or making people better, it means it is a wrong choice. Your choices shape your values and emotional dispositions, never forget that you are in control of your decisions, till I come your way again, keep being a considerate human being!