You can be practical and emotional.
Just like you can be both introverted and extroverted, logical and intuitive, casual and precise.
When we refer to someone as a practical person, we simply mean that they are predominantly practical.
I think this is a key point. It’s easy to see personality traits as black and white, all or nothing. But they’re not.
If you tend to be an emotional person, that doesn’t prevent you from being practical from time to time. And vice versa.
That being said…
Practical people tend to be objective. Emotional people tend to see the world subjectively. Practical people value efficiency and choose things that work. Emotional people value emotions and choose things that are interesting.
Keep reading for the complete explanation…
1. Practical vs emotional: decision making
Your life is the result of all your choices and decisions. All of them. Big and small. Utterly insignificant and super important.
Making correct decisions is an art, and you get better at it as you get older and learn from your mistakes.
One of the key elements of decision making is to be aware of your own priorities. Meaning: what truly matters, what is truly important to you.
This is why two different people, in the same scenario, may make two completely different — but correct — decisions.
To understand the first difference between practical people and emotional people, you want to look at how they make decisions in life.
Typically, someone who is predominantly practical will look at data, numbers, and percentages.
They’ll ask: what works best? What option is the most efficient? What leads to better results, objectively?
And they’ll say: I think…
By contrast, someone who is more emotional will take into account their own feelings and emotions (and those of others as well).
They’ll ask: what feels right? What does my gut instinct tell me? What emotions will this decision lead to?
And they’ll say: I feel…
2. Practical vs emotional: career/hobbies
When it comes to their career, as well as hobbies and interests, practical people will tend to be very consistent.
Practical people are driven by results (what is objectively successful); emotional people are driven by their feelings (what success means to them).
A practical person tends to stick to one thing and master it through repetition, even when it gets a bit boring.
Emotional people, on the other hand, usually like to experiment. They are drawn by variety and new things.
Both approaches have advantages and disadvantages. Both repetition and creativity can lead to excellence, and excellent results.
Repetition and consistency typically lead to specialization, with the risk that one may not see the bigger picture and fail to adapt when necessary.
Creativity and experimenting typically lead to a broader set of skills and experience, with the risk that one may never actually excel at anything.
3. Practical vs emotional: goal setting
What do you want to achieve and/or experience in your life? What does your bucket list look like?
The third main difference between practical and emotional people is the way they set goals (and the type of goals they go after).
Typically, someone who is practical will go for goals that are very specific, and realistic/achievable.
They’ll also tend to work toward those goals methodically — they’ll use strategies that have been proven to work, that are effective.
And what about emotional people?
You guessed it — these are the visionaries, the people that aren’t afraid to dream big. And set goals that are even bigger.
They’ll work toward their goals with approaches that “feel” right; they’ll enjoy the process and make it fun.
When it comes to achieving goals, practical people will usually set realistic goals, and have a bigger chance of success; emotional people will go for the absolute best, but succeed less often.
4. Practical vs emotional: perception of the world
A practical person sees the world as it is. It’s the easiest, fastest, most objective way to perceive people and objects.
An emotional person won’t stop there — they’ll see people and objects based on the emotions that they trigger.
It’s a deeper, more complex approach, though not always accurate (as it’s subjective and not objective).
Let’s say you’re buying a product. If you’re predominantly practical, you’ll probably ask…
- Does this product clearly improve my life?
- What do I think about this product?
- Is this the right purchase?
- Will this be useful?
If you’re predominantly emotional, you’ll ask…
- Is this product beautiful?
- How does this product make me feel?
- Do I like this product?
- Will this be fun?
5. Practical vs emotional: empathy
Lastly, emotional people will usually be better at connecting with others… emotionally.
This means they’ll find it easier to empathize, to understand other people’s feelings. They’ll be compassionate and always take into account the feelings of others.
Conversely, a practical person will usually have a colder approach; they won’t have as much empathy, and other people’s feelings may not always be taken into account.
This can be a pro and a con depending on how you look at it.
I think we can all agree that empathy is a good trait/skill. But at the same time, being too compassionate can lead to lack of focus. It can also be incredibly draining.
This is why empaths are easily overwhelmed in social situations, and need periods of solitude to recharge.
Is it better to be a practical person or an emotional person?
Practical people will say it’s better to be practical. Emotional people will say it’s better to be emotional.
The truth? It’s a silly question, and there is no answer to it.
Just like there isn’t a “best” or “worst” personality type, you can’t say that it’s better to be practical or emotional. It just doesn’t make sense.
The only exception would be if you’re asking the question in a very specific scenario.
For example, some career paths are more suited for people that are highly practical and logical.
Art and artistic things are usually fully appreciated (and understood) by someone who is emotional.
If you value predictability and efficiency, choose a practical person. If you value fun and creativity, choose an emotional person.
And so on.
Are you practical or emotional?
So… which category do you tend to fall into?
And what do you think are your greatest strengths? How does being practical, or emotional, make your life special?
Leave a reply below and let me know! 👇