There is difference between how you believe you will act under certain circumstances and how you actually act when the time comes. When asked in the cold light of day how we will behave in the future, we turn out to be very bad at imagining how we will act in the heat of the moment.
Remember the mental model called Curse of Knowledge? I had written about in in Latticework series sometime back. If you can’t recall, let me refresh your memory. ‘Curse of knowledge’ says that better-informed people find it extremely difficult to think about problems from the perspective of lesser-informed people. In other words, the more knowledgeable you are about a subject, the more unnatural it becomes for you to communicate that knowledge in a simple and clear way. That’s why effective teaching is such a difficult task. Being knowledgeable about something doesn’t ensure that you can teach it effectively.
Curse of knowledge isn’t just limited to knowledge. It’s equally applicable to emotions. Being in a calm state, it’s not easy to relate to the actions of another person who is in an emotionally high state. That’s the genesis of the idea called empathy, which is the ability to relate to another person whose emotions are reaching a boiling point. However, putting yourself in other’s shoes is easier said than done. It’s a challenge and very few people possess the talent to practice empathy.
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