Context and Circumstance

I read a lot of random things, and the joy of doing so is that you often find interesting parallels that can be applied to other areas or ideas.  On recommendation from a mentor of mine, I read through a Harry Potter fan fiction piece which focused on the rationalisation of JK Rowling's masterpiece  (yes I am a big Potter fan).  The piece itself is exceedingly sarcastic and in some stages it gets a bit much - but if you can brush past the forced witicism, there are some very profound statements.  Here is one that stuck with me:

“Suppose you come into work and see your co-worker kicking his desk.  You think, “what an angry person he must be.”  Your co-worker is instead thinking about how someone pushed him into a wall on the way to work and then shouted at him.  Anyone would be angry at that, he thinks.  When we look at others we see personality traits that explain their behaviour, but when we look at ourselves we see circumstances that explain our behaviour.  People’s stories make internal sense to them, from the inside, but we don’t see people’s histories trailing behind them in the air.  We only see them in one situation, and we don’t see what they would be like in a different situation.  So the fundamental attribution error is that we explain by permanent, enduring traits what would be better explained by circumstance and context.”


First impressions are powerful, but dangerous.

Strive to understand the context and you might surprise yourself...