The Impact of Impressions
“Yo, dude. What are you so dressed up for? Going on a date at 9 in the morning?”
“Shut up, bro. I’ve got an interview. Gotta make an excellent first impression.”
“That explains the suit.”
We’ve all seen this situation, overheard it or maybe even witnessed it in person. First impression. Interesting thing, isn’t it? Make-or-break. Death-or-glory. But why? All I had heard as an explanation was because the first impression is the last impression. Okay, the first impression is the last one. So how does it matter? Why should I care about making a good lasting impression? I bet very few people actually have an answer to this. Answer this for yourself before reading ahead.
Be true to yourself. Answer it.
The answer to this is a simple concept of higher expectations and higher performance.
Whenever you appear in front of a person for the first time, they form an impression in their mind on how you’ll behave in the future, from the one time they see you.
If they see a hard working, dedicated and sincere you in the future, if their belief about you is strong. And what happens when you strongly believe in something?
You work on it, for it, towards it. Basically immerse yourself to achieve it. Similarly when the other person believes in you, they put their heart and soul to make sure that you succeed in your endeavours, that you come out better than the rest.
Don’t you just love it when people are working for you, rooting for and counting on you? Of course, everyone loves it. You know that there are people who will elated if you succeed and shattered if you don’t. You feel, “Oh! Maybe I don’t suck that much. After all, these people believe in me.” Therefore, your belief in yourself strengthens when you see people believing in you.
You start working for their sake, if not for your own. You start taking actions. The actions turn into results.
Results that reinforce and confirm people’s beliefs. This starts the cycle all over again, except with more certainty this time and becomes a snowball effect growing on its own results. This is called the pygmalion effect.
Like every coin, there’s a flip side to this coin too.
If they see a lazy, irresponsible and undisciplined you in the future, they don,t believe in you. They don’t want to put in efforts for you because they think you’re gonna do no good, and all the efforts will be in vain (even if it’s not true). This makes you lose confidence in yourself. When that’s gone, everything’s gone. You think “Oh! What good am I going to do anyways. Just let it be.” with this mindset, you take no action.
This also results in a snowball effect, but a shrinking one. The more this cycle continues, the worse situations get.
But the interesting part is that you can change anyone one of the two components which are in your control – your beliefs or your actions – to change the course of this cycle.
Now the next time you see your teacher being partial toward her favorite students you know what they did right 😉 and what you can do too. I’ve been the teachers’ favorite student myself 🙈
Just be confident, respectful, sincere and well dressed up 🙂