First Impressions Matter
We now live in a society that discourages judgment of any kind. You are told that you can’t make a decision about someone based off of your first impression.
When it comes to immutable factors of a person, such as race, I agree with the sentiment.
However, the notion that we should not make assessments of a person based off of how they present themselves is absurd.
Humans make incredibly fast judgments of other people based off of external clues such as posture, dress and facial expressions.
If you are a professional or want to improve your dating odds it is imperative that you make a good first impression.
Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover
I have never really understood the statement “don’t judge a book by its cover”. It always strikes me that the person who coined it must have never bought a book in their life.
Just think of the times you’ve been in a bookstore. You browse until a title catches your eye and then you peruse the front and back cover to see if the book is of interest to you.
If I was unsure of whether or not I wanted to read a book, reading it all of the way through to see if I like it is a waste of my time.
In much the same way, we as humans make judgments about the people we meet.
This is hardwired into our psychology. It helps us to determine if someone is going to be helpful or harmful, happy or angry. Some of this is based on our past experiences, but the vast majority of our decision is based on visual cues we receive from the other person.
We all have standards for the people we want in our lives and those standards generally correlate to how people present themselves in the world. If you want to hang out with people who are into heavy metal, you wouldn’t go to a Taylor Swift concert.
Our brains create these mental shortcuts to cut down on the amount of processing that needs to be accomplished. It is a useful rule of thumb when it comes to sorting the people we meet.
As you are reading this blog, I am going to assume that you aren’t actively trying to integrate into the underground grindcore scene.
Let’s talk about the two best ways to increase your professional and personal appeal.
The Two Pillars of Physical Appearance: Posture and Apparel
If you really want to make a good impression on people, then you need to work on your posture and your appearance.
I’ll break the two down in more detail in some future posts but let’s cover the basics here.
Information work is now the predominant form of work in industrialized countries. Due to this, the majority of us will be deskbound for vast swaths of our working days.
We’ll sit in our cars to and from work.
We’ll sit as we eat our meals and catch up on our shows in the evenings.
This has created an epidemic of armchair warriors with slumped shoulders and curved spines.
These characteristics do not manifest in the world as the markers of a brave conqueror. Rather, they are interpreted as withdrawn, like you are rolling your shoulders in to shield you from the outside world.
This is a weak position and it will be interpreted by others as such whether they recognize it consciously or not.
Notice how whenever a hacker is in a movie it is not a tall, broad-shouldered man but rather a greasy, socially awkward man with poor posture.
In addition to not being a socially strong position, this position will do massive damage over time to your spine. For every inch off of center your head is, you add 15 pounds of pressure to your neck. This will compress your vertebrae until they begin to fuse and create bone spurs.
I think that this is something that most men don’t pay a lot of attention to.
Mastering dressing yourself as a man is a pretty simple task and one that will pay a lot of dividends as so few men do it well.
The biggest thing for a man is just to look clean and presentable. Wear clothes that fit well and are not baggy. Make sure that your clothes are not wrinkled and you collar doesn’t look like a piece of bacon.
Once you have the basics down you can begin to create your own style. I will put together a good style guide but for now look at this infographic about how to use 15 pieces of clothes to create 162 outfits.
I’ll dive into both posture and apparel in my next posts but this should get you started down the path of making a strong first impression.