Context and Character

Photo via Fastcompany

Photo via Fastcompany

Frank, a kindred-friend of mine whom I met almost 2 years ago when I first moved to Singapore loves to psychoanalyse. He was a hyper-observant creature, whose powers of perception made him good at his job, and one of my favorite people to have an insightful conversation with.

One night he said that I had the untapped potential to read people. Honestly, I didn’t believe him at first, until I took my first stab at psychoanalysing him myself. He was dumbfounded, because apparently the things I picked up are things he never admitted to anyone to himself. He kept challenging what I said, so as to encourage me to dig deeper into his psyche. I wasn’t passing judgement. Rather, I was making an attempt to connect, to understand and be one with who he was. It’s kind of like a shared self-awareness.

Since then I was always intrigued by the idea of reading people. I’ve practiced this exercise a couple of times since then, and was pleasantly surprised by what I discovered about people.

Fast forward to the present. I recently had a conversation with the planner at my agency about this topic in the context of account servicing, which is my current department. In order to be a good planner, you need to be perceptive enough to understand and derive consumer insight. In a nut shell, you need to be able to read people well. However, the advantage that the account team has is being able to read people (aka clients) contextually.

You won’t truly know someone unless you read how they react in certain situations. Like true-friends who don’t leave you hanging when you need them.

Context reveals character. Context is everything.

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