For some unknown reason the topic of perception has been stuck in my head for quite awhile. So, I decided to run with it and let my thoughts flow.
What is it about the first time we meet someone that makes us jump to a quick opinion? We may not be willing to admit it but, most of us do this at least on some level. In my mind I can hear my Mom saying, “you never get a second chance to make a first impression.” Really?
I got to thinking about the many times I’ve jumped to judgment, only to find out I was completely off base. When I decided to take a step back and reassess, my opinion almost always changed and usually favored a more positive outcome.
I think there’s a total attack on our senses when we meet someone for the first time. When you think about it, every one of our senses is engaged as we dash to make a decision. Maybe it’s the way they glance at us, or what their wearing, or the sound of their voice that pushes us into a decision. Whatever it is, we quickly and silently determine if they are going to help us or hurt us? The old saying, “You are either for me, or agin me” rushes to mind. On some level our opinion comes down to self preservation mixed with a bit of old fashioned selfishness.
As with most everything in life, even perception comes down to balance. In order to make sure everyone gets a fair shot at the perception game, we need to be able to temper our opinions while still honoring our intuition (gut reaction) along with a healthy dose of emotional intelligence. Hhmm, not an easy task when we are face to face with someone that makes us cringe ever so slightly. It’s at that very moment that we tend to jump to conclusions and go with our gut response.
Being that we are capable of forming split second decisions about someone, I wonder if we ever get a chance to redeem ourselves in their eyes, or vice versa. Part of me tends to think, “Who cares what he/she thinks of me”. But, in a professional setting we may have to work a little harder in order to save ourselves some future pain.
Perception is a very tricky thing to lock down. Like sand, it is ever shifting. Seems to me, it’s more important to be true to yourself and let the chips fall where they may. I would love to hear your thoughts.