I’m the type of person who’d like to live in a world where looks don’t matter. But, like you, I live in a world where looks do in fact matter. As I shared in my post about hate, I’ve had a pretty telling example of just how much looks can play into the way others engage with you. But today we’re going to focus on the perceptions we create by the way we present ourselves.
This isn’t a feel-good topic…it’s seemingly a bit shallow actually. But should that detour us from speaking about it? NOPE! Sometimes we have to have tough conversations in order to fully hash things out.
I’m counting on community contribution to help drive the point that looks really do matter, or the contrary if you believe otherwise. Either way, please share your rundown as to why you feel the way you do.
I’m a realist and realize that much of what we see as our reality is really only a perception and this is very obvious, for example, in the alternative energy discussion. In fact, I believe that we’re accountable for most of the elements related to the perceptions others form of us. If you don’t think that looks matter now – you may come to find out in a moment, that they actually do.
*NOTE: When I say looks – I’m speaking on your personal presentation only. I am not talking about physical characteristics that we have very little control over (like DNA). Sure, these do play a significant part, but I’m not going there…yet!
Looks Do Matter…Here are Some Simple Proofs
We’re intelligent, visual and emotional people. And because of this, we’re affected by what we see. It’s really simple.
- Most of the time we initiate relationships because of physical attraction first…the deal is later sealed (or not) by emotional connection.
- It’s no doubt that the image of food gets us hungry; secondarily the smell and then taste provide us with the feedback needed to give it a thumbs up or down.
- We buy clothes because of how they look; followed by feel and function.
- Marketing efforts capture our eye first, then appeal to our emotions; leading us to purchase, or at the minimum, gain interest.
- We tend to click the back button quickly after entering an ugly website.
- We often feel more confident when we like what we see in the mirror.
First Impressions are based on Your Image
It’s a popular thing around here these days, right: taking ownership of the perceptions that you create? Here’s the deal folks – regardless if you take the opportunity to develop your brand in the light that most accurately and honestly depicts who you are – your brand will be built for you, possibly based on misconceptions and inaccuracies. If you don’t own your personal brand, they (everyone else) will own it for you.
You Have to Be Willing to Live With What Your Personal Brand Represents
It’s okay to be disliked. Everyone will not like you. PERIOD. A natural effect of being yourself is that some people will not like you for reasons you simply can’t control. But others will love you and respect you.
I Judge Books by Their Cover…and You Do Too
Why? Because we are human. It just naturally happens. When we see a person for the first time, we size them up without thought. We automatically associate their appearance, the way they carry themselves, how they speak, etc. with something that we may or not be familiar with. The trick is not to allow that initial “size-up” to create an unfavorable view of that person before getting to know them…but of course it happens.
Imagine being in the seat of a professional recruiter and two candidates walk one in your office, both interviewing for a VP position. One candidate is well polished and the other is dressed in casual street clothes. Without speaking to either, do you form a judgment based on their appearance? Of course you do. It happens naturally without you having to strain in thought. You think “why is this person not dressed for the part?” And you may even automatically disassociate them from being a potential fit for a position. In my book – this wouldn’t be an unfair conclusion.
The way you present yourself has a lot to do with how people treat you, support you and represent you. It’s important to understand that just because people shouldn’t judge you based on your appearance, doesn’t mean that they won’t. Do you know how hard it is for people who have tattoos on their hands and neck to get a job in a white-collar environment? It’s tough.
Of course, a tattoo doesn’t mean that a person is any less qualified for the position…but it shouts certain messages about their own judgment in representing themselves. I’m not knocking tattoos at all. I’m just saying the way you present yourself has a heavy bearing on how others treat you…because looks really do matter.