The principles of the Golden circle are much more than a communications hierarchy. Its principles are deeply grounded in the evolution of human behavior. The power of WHY is not opinion, it’s biology.If you look at a cross-section of the human brain, from the top down you will see that the levels of the Golden circle correspond precisely with the three major levels of the brain. The newest area of the brain homo sapien brain is the neocortex, which corresponds with the WHAT level. The neocortex is responsible for Rational and analytical thought and language.
The middle two sections comprise the limbic brain. The limbic brain is responsible for all our feelings, such as trust and loyalty. It is also responsible for all human behavior and all their decision-making, but it has no capacity for language.
When we communicate from the Outside In, when we communicate WHAT we do first, people can understand vast amounts of complicated information, like facts and features but it does not drive behavior. But when we communicate from the Inside Out we’re talking directly to the part of the brain that controls decision-making, and our language part of the brain allows us to rationalize those decisions.
The part of the brain that controls our feelings has no capacity for language. It is this disconnection that makes putting out feelings into words so hard. We have trouble, for example, explaining why we married the person we married. We struggle to put into words the real reasons why we love them, so we talk about it or rationalize it. “She’s funny, she’s smart”, we start. But there are lots of funny and smart people in the world, but we don’t love them and we don’t want to marry them. There is obviously more to Falling in Love than just personality and competence. Rationally, we know our explanation isn’t the real reason. It is how well-loved ones make us feel, but those feelings are really hard to put into words. So when pushed we start to talk around it. We may even say things that don’t make any rational sense. “She completes me”, we might say, for example. What does that mean and how do you look for someone who does that so you can marry them? that’s the problem with love; we only know when we found it because it just feels right. The same is true for decisions. When a decision feels right, we have a hard time explaining why we did what we did. Again, the part of the brain that controls decision making doesn’t control language, so we rationalize. This complicates the value of poles or market research. Asking people why they chose you over another may provide wonderful evidence of how they have rationalized their decision, but it does not shed much light on the true motivation for the decision. It’s not that people don’t know, is that they have trouble explaining why they do what they do. Decision-making and the ability to explain those decisions exist in different parts of the brain.
This is where gut decisions come from. They just feel right. There is no part of the stomach that controls decision making, it’s all happened in the limbic brain. It’s not an accident that we use that word “feel” to explain those decisions either. The reason gut decisions feel right is because the part of the brain that controls them also controls our feelings. Whether you defer to your gut or your simply following your heart no matter which part of the body you think is driving the decision, the reality is it is all in your limbic brain.
Our limbic brain is so powerful, powerful enough to drive behavior that sometimes contradicts our rational and analytical understanding of a situation. We often Trust our gut even if the decision flies in the face of all the facts and figures.
Simon Sinek Start with WHY