Quirks of Thinking

Do you have this quirk of thinking? Have you ever made this error? I’m afraid I have.

For yourself, your actions as motivated by reasoning. For others, their actions as caused by personality traits.

Edison didn't call unsuccessful tests failures, but finding ways that didn't work

Personal view of self

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A golfer fails because of failure to control his game

Others fail because of personal shortcomings


This error is so common it is named the fundamental attribution error.

Fundamental Attribution Error

  • Your mistakes are caused by the situation. Your efforts are stymied by obstinate reality.
  • Other’s mistakes are caused by their personality shortcomings. For instance, they don’t try hard enough or they can’t control themselves.

Another Way We are Easy on Ourselves

When evaluating our own behavior:

  • We exaggerate the situational factors when our efforts come up short.
  • We exaggerate the personality factors when we are successful.

These two bits of insights taste like a slice of humble pie.


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