Rule: Remember, your appearance "talks." Be sure it says positive things about you. Never leave home without feeling certain you look like the
|Think the best image|
All boys, I'm told, go through the "hat stage." That is, they use hats to identify themselves with the person or character they want to be. I will always remember a hat incident with my own son, Davey. One day he was dead set on being the Lone Ranger, but he had no Lone Ranger hat. I tried to persuade him to substitute another. His protest was "But, Dad, I can't think like the Lone Ranger without a Lone Ranger hat." I gave in finally and bought him the hat he needed. Sure enough, donning the hat, he was the Lone Ranger. I often recall that incident because it says so much about the effect of appearance on thinking. Anyone who has ever served in the Army knows a soldier feels and thinks like a soldier when he is in uniform. A woman feels more like going to a party when she is dressed for a party. By the same token, an executive feels more like an executive when he is dressed like one. A salesman expressed it to me this way: "I can't feel prosperous-and I have to if I'm going to make big sales-unless I know I look that way."
Your appearance talks to you; but it also talks to others. It helps determine what others think of you. In theory, it's pleasant to hear that people should look at a man's intellect, not ,his clothes. But don't be misled. People do evaluate you on the basis of your appearance. Your appearance is the first basis for evaluation other people have. And first impressions last, out of all proportion to the time it takes to form them. In a supermarket one day I noticed one table of seedless grapes marked 15 cents a pound. On another table were what appeared to be identical grapes, this time packaged in polyethylene bags' and marked 2 pounds for 35 cents. I asked the young fellow at the weighing station, 'What's the difference between the grapes priced at 15 cents a pound and those priced at two pounds for 35 cents?" "The difference," he answered, "is polyethylene. We sell about twice as many of the grapes· in the polyethylene bags. They look better that way." Think about the grape example the next time you're selling yourself. Properly "packaged," you have a better chance to make the sale-and at a higher price. The point is: the better you are packaged, the more public acceptance you will receive. Tomorrow watch who is shown the most respect and courtesy in restaurants, on buses, in crowded lobbies, in stores, and at work. People look at another person, make a quick and often subconscious appraisal, and then treat him accordingly. We look at some people and respond with the "Hey, Mac" attitude. We look at others and respond with the "Yes, sir" feeling. Yes, a person's appearance definitely talks. The well-dressed person's appearance says positive things. It tells people, "Here is an important person: intelligent, prosperous, and dependable. This inan can be looked up to, admired, trusted. He respects himself, and I respect him." The shabby-looking fellow's appearance says negative things. It says, "Here is a person who isn't doing well. He's careless, inefficient,' unimportant. He's just an average person. He deserves no special consideration. He's used to being pushed around." When I stress "Respect your appearance" in training programs, almost always I am asked the question 'Tm sold. Appearance is important. But how do you expect me to afford the kind of clothing that really makes me feel right and that causes others to look up to mel" That question puzzles many people. It plagued me for a long time. But the answer is really a simple one: Pay twice as much and buy half as many. Commit this answer to memory. Then practice it. Apply it to hats, suits, shoes, socks, coats—everything you wear. Insofar as appearance is concerned, quality is far more important than quantity. When you practice this principle, you'll find that both your respect for yourself and the respect of others for you will zoom upward. And you'll find you're actually ahead money-wise when you pay twice as much and buy half as many because:
1. Your garments will last more than twice as long because they are more than twice as good, and as a rule they will show "quality" as long as they last.
2. What you buy will stay in style longer. Better clothing always does.
3. You'll get better advice. Merchants selling $200 suits are usually much more interested in helping you find the garment that is "just right" for you than are merchants selling $100 suits.
Remember: Your appearance talks to you and it talks to others. Make certain it says, "Here is a person who has self respect. He's important. Treat him that way." You owe it to others-but, more important, you owe it to yourself- to look your best. You are what you think you are. If your appearance makes you think you're inferior, you are inferior. If it makes you think small, you are small. Look your best and you will think and act your best.
Writer: DAVID J. CHWARTZ, PH.D.
Writer: DAVID J. CHWARTZ, PH.D.