Explained repeatedly since authors emerged. Explained in various forms and mediums. Across all languages, cultures and religion. In esoteric and exoteric terms. In summary, you could say we have no business failing at this, and yet, high agency seems elusive. There are no hidden hands. That’s the start.
There is the opposite. Alongside the images we create for our perception of others, we create different selfs we present to people. Some do this consciously, with effort at start, until it becomes natural. Others, do it subconsciously. Its why the home, office, and pub version often differs. But its more than that. Deeper, beyond location to individual. The difference in what your friend from your hometown and your apartment neighbour see. What the “ordinary” person you argue with and what the one that turns your eye see.
I first found it in Takehiko Inoue’s Vagabond, the idea of how what we see in people aren’t they themselves, but an image of them we’ve created. We impact certain characteristics to that image and most times find it difficult to change our view once it has been formed. At best, the conclusions are drawn from our personal observations. The cherry top? Without prejuice (which is difficult, as we all carry implicit biases around). At worst, our conjectures are from hearsay.
Before the gates of excellence, there are long roads of mediocrity. Its natural to want the aura of command. The temperament of one in full control of their destiny. Able to tackle all problems, and bring answers to all questions in their expertise. This desire, sometimes, leads to the fear of falling short. Of looking like the fool in the presence of others. And for those who start, the gates are not within sight. Fear mounts and the feet drags. Many stop, a basic natural response for us.
Our current world is exceedingly volatile, and the balance could tip in any direction. This is both good and bad, depending on which position you hedge your bets against. Except if all positions get wiped by an outlier few thought possible. I wonder how history felt during their own periods of uncertainty.