Doing something rational means we are taking the logical next step in the process. We look at a problem objectively, look at the possible solutions and take the action that makes the most sense.
Yet, that’s not how life works.
It is difficult to look objectively. Everything is coloured by our previous experiences, emotions and future ambitions. Our perceptions of how the world works are framed in accordance to our biases and assumptions. These form our ideas of right and wrong, of what we should and shouldn’t do.
When we act meaningfully we are attaching meaning to our actions, and not simply acting out of rationality.
Of course, our actions still make (logical) sense, but they are also aligned to our values. When we attach meaning, we are more invested in the outcome. We are putting ourselves on the hook for the result.
This puts weight behind our choices. They mean more.
We should act rationally. And we should also act meaningfully.
We are taking ownership of the outcome.