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Sunday, July 30, 2023

Making an Impression

Do first impressions matter? Unfortunately, yes. They set the tone for all else that follows.


People exist that give second chances. They don’t take first impressions too seriously, because they are aware that there could be more than meets the eye and that there’s a possibility the person was, for some reason, acting out of character or having a rough time that’s keeping them from being their best self. These are people that risk it out of compassion and understanding or because they can sense potential regardless. However, the first impression might still nag at them or come up as relevant later on - for better or for worse.

Then there are more pragmatic and efficient people. They do not have time or energy to spare on charity and uncertainty. Maybe they weren’t always like this, but that’s how they are now. They will ruthlessly weed out those that fail to make a good impression, unwilling to risk it for them. And they’re in their right unless the role they’re in demands more of them. Perhaps they are close-minded and short-sighted, so they truly believe that the first impression encompasses the totality of a person. But perhaps their rationale is that, even if they do dismiss someone who could have been worthwhile despite their bad impression, it is not worth it to invest in looking closer when it’s just as likely or even more likely that someone making a good impression will be just as good or even better than someone who didn’t could have been.

Yes, it can be messed up. And some of the most wonderful people you’ll ever meet can come in wrapped in disarray. But we have to at least try to meet people halfway. Just as we expect to be given an opportunity, we should expect to put out our best to be considered for it.

This shouldn’t be discouraging for you. Take it as an incentive to keep improving, to encourage extraordinary growth. And even if your first impression wasn’t all that, you can probably redeem yourself with later ones or at least do better with the next audience you’re in front of.

And speaking of audiences, bear in mind that you won’t be what everybody is looking for. Even at your best, you may be overlooked and rejected. You may be “The whole package at the wrong address.” This is why it is extremely important to get comfortable with rejection and begin seeing it as redirection. If you bring your all and it is not enough, that is not where you’re meant to be. And even if you’re lacking, could do better, and are rejected because of it, that’s a redirection to work more on yourself. Personalizing and internalizing rejections as reflections of your worth won’t do you any favors. Many of the most successful people were rejected countless of times and kept going, to a point where they became almost completely or absolutely shameless.

Arm yourself with preparation and push yourself to demonstrate what you’re made of if you want to make an impression. How much you transmit and reveal of yourself through it is at your discretion.