A first impression is the last impression – If you fail to make a good first impression, then you are all set to come last in the race because you will never get a second chance.
This is what I was taught during my schooling, colleges and even the same advice was passed on to me while taking up employment.
I believed this advice firmly and decided that I will always try to make a good first impression in order to succeed.
While this advice of making a good first impression pushed me to start my career with a bang , but the fact was I was not able to keep the momentum going.
I met with failures very soon and embraced frustration, found myself in clueless situation.
I was a teenager who jumped into information technology industry immediately after my college wrestling with keyboard and learning MS DOS and Word star (which were popular in those days) sitting in front of that monochrome monitors.
When I was trying to make a good first impression my job, I was forcing myself too much during the first few days of employment to make others think that I am the fastest learner and will do everything that was given to me. I was saying yes to every work coming on my way.
My bosses liked my super-charged attitude and soon trusted me as a valuable player in the team. Their impression about me was that I had learned everything in a short period of time.
But, that image was short lived. I was no more a new employee and since I had set the benchmark high during my initial days (reason: to make a first impression), I was assigned multiple tasks and asked to complete all in stiff deadlines. Soon, my enthusiasm started coming down. Pressure was building up inside me to complete pending tasks.
I just couldn’t handle those. Advice of making a good first impression was working against me.
I failed. I couldn’t complete the tasks and ended up with silly mistakes. Because, I underestimated the value of time for learning the new system.
I thought I had understood everything (at least tried to show like that) .
The first impression thing screwed up everything. I failed miserably.
This was almost a decade back. Then, I was not aware how to progress in life. I didn’t know that the ultimate progress in life is learning things in correct way and implementing them in right way. What I was trying was to build a skyscraper with weak foundation.
Thanks to personal development, which opened my eye to my inner self.
When I took up a task of discovering myself and decided to fix myself, I started experiencing an exact opposite of what I was taught during schooling, colleges.
I realized that first impression is not the last impression. And judging the life based on a ‘first impression’ could bring me dangerous results. And allowing some one to judge me on my first impression would have the same effect too.
My experiences were not limited to my job or competitive areas, there were chunks of lessons in other areas of life such as buying habits, relationships and much more.
Lessons were pretty clear.
First impression is not the last impression.
You just need to be yourself , natural and practical.
Everything falls in the right place if you focus on creating a solid foundation.
Research is always accurate than trusting the hype.
I learned these lessons because I had reversed the popular belief called making a first impression.
Instead of trying hard to make a good first impression, I started involving in the new job as a brand new comer. I was humble, polite and hardworking. I started with smalls steps by putting my efforts into understanding each module of the job and slowly understanding the whole ecosystem of the work.
I was seeking information from seniors and thanked them for their inputs.I admitted my silly mistakes and corrected them immediately and kept going.
Surely, I was on the right path. I started getting more and more support and attention from seniors and the boss over the time. I didn’t focus on making a first impression, I just worked hard and focused on developing a strong knowledge base. I was slow but steady.What I was trying is to release my true potential.
A strong foundation was built.
Results were outstanding and I was appreciated for my contributions and that developed more confidence inside me. This is what I practice after those life changing lessons.
I hope you got the message in the above story.
So, don’t try hard for making a good first impression. You will be MISJUDGED. Because you look artificial when you try to make a good first impression. Instead, be natural, be hardworking and honest.
Nobody can (should) judge a person or a thing based on first impression
This is the core message I wanted to convey in this whole article.
Most of first impressions are not real. They are either inaccurate, deceiving or fake.
Let’s look at your own daily life examples.
How many times you have seen a new person, and at first thought he looks like a baddy. However later after spending some time with him, you found that he is a humble and a good guy. A first impression about him was unreal.
How many times, you have bought a new phone by it’s first look and later found that it lacks some of the very important functionality? You would have surely surrendered yourself to aggressive marketing which would have created an urge inside you to get this new phone. A first impression of the gadget was worth a 5 star rating. But what you failed to notice is ,first impressions are some created to infuse a sense of urgency within you to buy the new gadget immediately whether you really need it or not. In the age of consumerism, you might have experienced this many times.
As a manager, how many times , you wrote off a new employee thinking that he is ineffective because he failed to make a good first impression? You later surprised to see that he is doing quite amazing in some other team. First impression of the new employee again deceived you.
You can’t judge anyone based on their first impression because you are ignoring a simple truth that human behavior is complex.
This truth not only applies to human behavior but extends itself to other areas of our life as well.
The worst thing that can happen to people is they might get married to a wrong person if they judge him/her based on the first impression.
I hope you can imagine the consequences.
What is the right way to judge a person/situation/stuff then?
You need to have patience and thankfully, there are plenty of resources available for research.
You need to analyze the pattern over the time, instead of judging a person/stuff/situation instantly based on the first impression.
In fact, it’s no more optional. You SHOULD adopt this habit right away if you want to make RIGHT choices and handle the situations in a better way.
Stay calm and observe the variations over the period of time.
I am sure , you will come to an obvious conclusion soon which is far accurate than the instant opinion which was created based on the first impression.
If you are a boss, don’t judge a new employee on day one or even within a week. He might be misjudged. Instead, give him a month. Extend your support to him and expose him to valuable information. Offer constructive feedback for his silly mistakes. Appreciate his small accomplishments. Soon, he might do wonders for you.
If you are tempted to buy that new gadget by seeing it’s first look on TV or internet, don’t rush to buy it immediately. Instead, hold yourself back and wait for user reviews and feedback. After going through reviews, if the gadget still excites you, go and pick it up. But if user reviews are all negative, do you still want to take the risk?
If you see a business offer coming on your way which is too good to resist and offered with unbelievable goodies, be patient and step back for allowing yourself to do some research. You might even later find that the business offer was nothing more than a scam.
If you are a software programmer and the code you just wrote works perfect in it’s first run (by it’s first impression). don’t hurry to celebrate. Instead, observe the code behavior in the whole ecosystem of the project. Test the code in various scenarios and see that how other modules respond to your code. By doing so, you will be a better programmer. Real programmer spends most of the time in testing, not in programming.
I am sure, above examples showed you the consequences of exercising judgement by first impression.
I am not saying that first impressions are always false, but they surely need a second look.
Don’t worry. Life will give you a second chance. Observe, analyze and work hard.
A long lasting impression is what you should be aiming for, not for the temporary first impression.
How about you? Have you ever judged some one by their first impression? Or have you ever been judged by some one based on your first impression? I am genuinely interested in hearing about your experiences. Tell your story in the comments.
Photo credit : free digital photos