23 May 2010

Let me elaborate...

Yesterday I posted a little post about first impressions. 
I've been doing some thinking and decided to expand on this topic. 

"You only get one first impression."
False. Today you have several chances to make an impression. Take advantage!! We have reached a dot-com phenomena, where people post status updates, twitter twits, photo tags, and public displays of all sorts of behavior. It is instantaneous and very difficult to take back. Every time you post a message, you are giving an impression of who you are. Is it accurate?

In addition to this public access to your life, there are also times when you only get an impression on one piece of the puzzle. Like my example yesterday, the man that I was talking about was only ever seen in a competitive nature. It wasn't the whole picture. I saw this side of him, with his wife and children, that was so loving and soft.

People are multi-dimensional. 
Keep your mind open to the other sides to someone. 

"Don't be over self-confident with your first impressions of people." 
-Chinese Proverb

I was over self-confident and I was wrong. The impression I got from this man was how I perceived him to be in all other parts of his life. I completely dismissed him as possibly being anything else.

Sound awful? 
It is. 

But is is just human error? Can we blame it on the flawed nature of the human mind? 

Absolutely not. Flaws are mistakes and misunderstandings. This is different. This is an inability to keep the mind open. It is more than a miscalculation, it is stubbornness and defiance towards someone that is barely known. It is unfair. 

To echo the words from yesterdays post: I allowed myself to apply my first impression to every aspect of this man's life without knowing him at.all.

I few comments and e-mails have brought to my attention that this is bi-directional. It is absolutely possible to get a first impression of someone sweet and kind, but later see a side of them that is unrecognizable.

Therefore, I'm challenging myself to keep my mind open. To keep it open enough to accept other possibilities and understand that the impression I'm getting may only be a small fraction of who this person really is.

Just some food for thought. 
And I would love to hear your comments on this!

1 comment:

  1. I think you are completely correct. One of my favorite TV quotes is, "Always leave people a little room to disappoint you." I think we only really get to see a few people in our lives as they really are. How old did we have to be before we saw our parents as round, whole individuals and not just as parents, you know?