Perception of reality matters.
This is because perception is reality.
(Ok. Perception is not actually reality. But in so many people’s minds it is.)
They say don’t judge a book by its cover, but we all do that every day.
Race. Class. Gender. Age. Occupation. You name it.
For example, after a few hours of working in a flower bed, my disheveled and grubby looking dad was once asked by a UPS man if “the owners” were home.
“Yes, I’m here.” my dad replied trying to contain a smile.
Like it or not, appearances and perception matter.
Beautiful websites can make an impression on customers, as can beautiful buildings, elegantly designed offices, and well-tailored suits.
However, if the perception is the reality for so many, we can also use that to our advantage.
“The way you carry yourself will often determine how you are treated: In the long run, appearing vulgar or common will make people disrespect you. For a king respects himself and inspires the same sentiment in others. By acting regally and confident of your powers, you make yourself seem destined to wear a crown.”
-Robert Greene, The 48 Laws of Power (Amazon)
I am not saying you should be a fraud. I am saying you should look, and act like you belong.
- If you are working support and want to one day be a salesman, don’t dye your hair blue and constantly spew profanity.
- If you want to be a department manager, don’t constantly gossip and make yourself the center of petty drama.
- If you want to be the CEO, don’t come to work in jeans with a three-day beard and baseball hat.
The point is this: If people are going to make their perception their reality, you need to act like you deserve their attention.
Do not give them an easy excuse to overlook you.
“I rented offices in West Hollywood. The rooms had floor-to-ceiling windows through which you could see hills and cars moving in the canyons. There was art on the walls, shag on the floors, Perrier in the refrigerators, no expense spared. People judge on first sight, so make those surfaces shine. If you want to be seen as a major, look like a major. As a great man said, perception is reality. As another great man said, You grow into the suit. As a philosophy this means operating on confidence, in the belief that something will happen, that the trick will work, that the backup will arrive with the heavy guns. It’s how America has operated from the beginning.”
-Jerry Weintraub and Rich Cohen, When I Stop Talking, You’ll Know I’m Dead (Amazon)