Monday, April 30, 2007

Perceptions...

If someone sees you on the street, do they see an unkempt appearance: disheveled clothing, lint everywhere, uncombed hair, shoes untied, wrinkled or stained clothing, and a dirty face?

Or do they see attention to detail: meticulously groomed hair, perfectly matched clothing, shined shoes, everything just so?

I’d argue either can be good or bad…depending on the situation. You need to find balance. Now there’s a concept…balance. We’ll hit that one later…

Using the contrasting examples above, what do people see? The slob may convey a lack of desire to achieve, conform or possibly apathy about everything and everyone. Or maybe they’re above the crowd, unafraid to be original and unconcerned with the materialistic or social conventions some people consider mandatory.

The fastidious dresser may come across as self-absorbed, fake, high-maintenance or worse. But then again, maybe they’re a perfectionist, attentive to details and focused on success.

Using the words above implies judgment…and that’s really the heart of the matter, now isn’t it?

People judge you. It’s natural. You judge people as well, and hopefully you are smart enough to keep your comments to yourself.

The thing is…you don’t know what people think. There are social norms, standards or conventions that usually frame our perceptions, but they are anything but set in stone.

Ever see a beautiful girl with the guy you think is a loser?? Why do you think that is? Her standards or desires may not fall in line what you think to be the norm, but that doesn’t mean a thing to her…obviously! Ever have someone catch you in a bad situation that wasn’t your fault and you didn’t get a chance to explain why your underwear ended up falling out of the back of your backpack (don’t ask!)??

These things happen.

So what is important as far as perceptions go?

Your own sense of right and wrong, good and bad, acceptable and unacceptable.

Whether it is a feeling about how you interact with people, style, performance, appearance, or anything else, it belongs to you and you alone.

A few things to consider:

- Be respectful. This means treating EVERYONE with respect. You don’t know the story behind the man dressed in ragged clothes on the side of the road. He deserves your respect as much as the next guy…maybe even more.
- Be kind. Treat people like you want to be treated…or better.
- Be wary. Just because someone can talk a good game doesn’t mean they can play. This doesn’t mean you instantly disregard someone who brags about being good, just don’t believe everything you hear…or even everything you see. The guy wearing the latest golf wear, with $1,000 clubs and talking a lot of crap may be great…he may also be a duffer. Don’t let the clothes fool you.
- Be natural. Don’t get caught up in the latest fashion, fad or trend…you’re a guy. This doesn’t mean you have to dress like I did (did I really just write that???) when I was young, it just means you shouldn’t stress over what to wear. Don’t speak in a foreign language using the latest words you hear on MTV, BET or the like.
- Be confident. I’ve already talked about this one before, but it is important. People sense confidence right away. It isn’t bravado…it isn’t beating your chest and proclaiming yourself the greatest thing since sliced bread. Look people in the eye when you talk to them; it projects confidence and trust. People that don’t look you in the eye are usually shy, timid, afraid or worse, not to be trusted.
- Be yourself. This could’ve been on top. In the end, you have to live with yourself.

Back to balance…

So you’re respectful, kind, wary, natural, confident and are always yourself? Good. Now remember this:

Everything in moderation. Balance is key…to just about everything.

- Be respectful, but not fearful or timid. Respect your opponents, but don’t fear them. Respect your elders, but speak your mind (without being insolent, of course!).
- Be kind, but don’t be a doormat. Don’t just give your money or time away without thinking about it.
- Be wary, but not distrustful. Give people the benefit of the doubt.
- Be natural, but remember social norms and conventions exist for a reason.
- Be confident, but not conceited…remember the guy I always tell you about? The one that you may not have met, but is always out there? Yeah, don’t forget about him!
- Be yourself. Just remember though…if your true self likes being naked all the time…remember there is a time and place for everything. In public may not be the best place to be your “true” self.

I know I’ve used some big words kiddo…you’re smart. If you don’t know what it meant…look it up. Yet more education! Gotta love that!

;)

3 comments:

Buck Pennington said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Buck Pennington said...

The slob ... maybe they’re ... unafraid to be original and unconcerned with the materialistic or social conventions...

That's it!! "Unconcerned with the materialistic!" That's ME!!

:-)

(Well said, again.) The (hockey) game's on... as we speak!

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