Friday’s Fable: Jupiter and the Two Sacks*
“Jupiter has given us two sacks to carry. One sack, which is filled with our own faults, is slung across our back, while the other sack, heavy with the faults of others, is tied around our necks. This is the reason why we are blind to our own bad habits but still quick to criticize others for their mistakes.”
Re-reading this little bit of wisdom, I was reminded of one of the major mistakes - along with a multitude of inherent limitations - we are prone to make in performance appraisals, that of the “Fundamental Attribution Error.” In brief, this happens because of our tendency to attribute favorable outcomes for ourselves as caused by our excellent internal qualities (fairness, hard work, perspicacity, etc.) while seeing our failures as caused by external forces (misfortune, envy, etc.) beyond our control.
However, when we view the outcomes of other people we use the opposite view – we tend to see the others’ success as a product of luck and their failure as a reflection of their less than admirable qualities: incompetence, laziness or something else within their control. En Garde!
*An Aesop's fable, translated by Laura Gibbs (2002)