Have you ever seen a new person and decided, “I am going to meet them!” Thinking about your first impressions, what draws you to that person and not others, will make you aware of otherwise hidden mental processes which greatly impact your life.
You only get one chance to make a first impression—literally true, and fundamentally limiting; this declaration gives credence to snap judgments and biases, and encourages a flat view of people and the world in which we live. Not only that, think of the intense pressure this creates for individuals: to develop relationships, you must appear ideal in the eye of everyone you meet.
Similarly, applying this analogy to this blog post explains my writing paralysis! I really want to make a good impression, so I can share my message. I first wrote this on March 24th; it is April 12th and I have revised, rewrote, added pictures, and continue to edit. I can never reach ‘ideal’ as defined by myself, let alone the ideal of all readers!
Consequently, sharing my immature writing, while I practice, read, listen, and improve, makes me vulnerable. In other words, writing my thoughts, my essence, lays bare the imperfect, growing me. I know how quickly first impressions are formed. I do not want readers’ first impressions to be based on my obvious, early imperfection. As a result, this first post has gone unpublished for weeks. Prior to that, it took months to determine the content of this ideal first post.
Thinking about thinking
This blog has already made a first impression. Your first impression leverages your history against only a glimpse of this content; you naturally compare it to other blogs you have read. Maybe your brain goes on to quickly consider length, font, visuals, other writing, perhaps articles, or even conversations you have experienced. You conclude with your first impressionwhich appears in your mind, fully formed and unedited.
You may be at this point thinking, “I like this meta-cognitive activity,” or possibly, “Is there a point to this rambling?” Your current thought may be something completely different, completely you. It is based on your history, personal experiences, preferences, and in turn, your perceptions.
The fact that others out there reading this are thinking something completely different does not enter the first impression process. Our brains do a lot of work behind the scenes; quality checks are done by thinking about our thinking. I am not the sole keeper of this perspective, and yet it has become my life’s work. This blog has already made that first impression, enticing you or providing a barrier to explore the many things left to share. What can you learn next, to move forward from your first impression?
Consider the perspective growing strategy see another side. “What about this post may others find interesting?” Conversely, “What may others find off-putting?” More importantly, when we think about a specific person’s point of view, it develops how we understand the content and our relationship with that person. For example, “What would my mother think of this post?” may put into your mind first impressions your mother has shared. Additionally, the perspectives of someone in another generation, and implications of the different perspectives may follow. This strategy provides a new path into the study of first impressions.
In conclusion, it’s the beginning
My best blogs are yet to come! As we go, I will discover better writing strategies which will increase access for diverse readers. As I improve writing techniques I will continue sharing ideas for expanding perceptions. Because, developing effective strategies to move past first impressions to build more comprehensive understanding, is essential to live our best life and recognize the best in others. Future posts will explore ways to expand how we view of the world including topics such as: understanding our talents, checking judgments, recognizing differences as strengths, building a culture of appreciation, and nourishing innovation.
I start with optimism; I continue with challenge, which contributes to learning.
Above all, please reconsider if you read this first foray and decide future posts are not for you. Perhaps you found something about the post awkward, off-putting, or otherwise inaccessible, and our shared journey will end. Consequently, we will miss learning about, and from, each other. So, if your engagement is challenged, stay tuned to help me learn, and learn about me.
Perhaps you see possibility, opportunity, or a glimmer of an exciting idea…stay tuned for strategies to see more in yourself, others, and the world.
NEXT…to think outside the box, it helps to understand why there is a box!