When I was in the first couple of years of college, I used to study in coffee shops. The surrounding noise didn’t bother me: I could shut it out with ease.
That is, until one day an acquaintance sat down with me and remarked, “How can you study in coffee shops with so much going on around you?”
It was a sincere question, with not a hint of malicious intent. But I was surprised: it had never occurred to me that it might be hard to study in a busy environment.
And, as it so happens, I couldn’t focus that evening after he made the inquiry, and I generally found that I couldn’t study or work in coffeeshops for the rest of my life (to date.)
It was some years after the fact that I remembered this event and noticed the sequence of suggestion. And of course, this little example doesn’t really ‘matter’- but it is telling.
How much of our function is just a mashup of what people have tossed off in offhand remarks at one point or another?
Note: power of words.