Data Point vs Deduction
I recently read a piece in AFAR magazine titled, “Where are you from?” Being a global nomad, the author went on to say he thinks of himself as from many places rather than just where he was born. He cited places that have had a major impact on him, the place where he lived the longest and where he resides currently as all part of his story. His origin story and where he is from is not one answer.
I see a broader reminder from this piece. Understanding a person or subject is never resolved with one question.
To know where someone work or what their function is tell you something. I work for a bank. My informing you of that really only tells you a small set of things. There are many things you might presume because of it but you will have to dig deeper to better understand.
Opportunities for judgement, making assumptions, and filling in the details of someone’s life as you’re just getting to know them is easy and lazy. Its easy to take a few data points and weave together the story we want rather than what is. The harder and more time-consuming work is seeking to understand someone. To approach them openly and curiously rather than looking for the chance to paint the picture of them you see fit and arrive at a certain conclusion.
We are not the place we are born, our current job, our previous job, our favorite food, dream vacation or the political party we identify with. We are a difficult-to-understand and always changing amalgamation of our experiences and genetics.
Go for depth not surface level assumptions.