First Impressions Count!
Bangkok, 7 December 2015, 08:00
Most, if not all, HR specialists or interviewers will agree with this chapter’s title and many will go on-and-on about just how important those first few minutes (seconds actually) of an interview are. They would give advice and tips on how to improve your chances and “putting your best foot forward” to land that dream job.
This chapter deals with first impressions but not in any HR related context… You see or hear someone/thing, all your sense are in action.
Information starts streaming into our brain – voice, looks, tone, surroundings. And within three seconds, woosh! “IMPRESSION FORMED”, reads the printout in your mind. That’s how it happens for most people; whether it is the first impression of a person, a job or any other thing or situation. People that know about these things, or at least they say they know about these things, have theories and studies that are amazing. One of them is noted below.
Socialcheck.com has a very interesting article about it and some nice links.
The fact that I am not a Psychologist, psychiatrist or HR practitioner notwithstanding, I would like to look at those issues and share my perspective. For the most part I agree with many theories about First Impressions, even if simply for the fact that I have staked my life on those theories so many times.
Yesterday was not a life-threatening situation but I mistakenly assumed that the first contribution to my campaign in IndieGoGo came from a certain individual that I was communicating with on-line. When I asked him if it was his contribution, his answer was not direct. Instead he opted for a psuedo-intellectual answer choice that left me wondering. See for yourself…
Why that answer? Does it matter? Was he truthful? So many more stupid questions and so very unnecessary! If you’re reading this, a simple NO would have sufficed. Your first impression was ruined… You progressed from “intellectual” to “unclassified” in one sentence and without stopping at GO to collect $200!
To fully explain where I’m going with this I am going to mention a few situations. In one version the situation is “as it appears” to someone else, in the other version, “the truth” is told. No dates are added, for obvious reasons. All the below situations are factually correct.
Right now there is a middle-aged guy in the coffee shop, typing on his computer and making advances at pretty young girls. He is a typical Farang (Foreigner in Thailand), bragging to his mates about his wonderful Thai vacation and all the pussy he’s getting!
The middle-aged guy is writing this blog, while at the same time doing observations and filming one of the directors of Bangkok Post (story will follow in future). The small video device is hidden but necessitates angling and positioning quite often. His flirting and “posturing” to the waitress and other girls hides the device and also makes the adjustments easier.
The border guard on the Zimbabwe side of Beit Bridge looks at the man in a White Honda Ballade. Neatly dressed, cool-calm-collected…Maybe a bit too self-assured but all White South Africans are like that. He looks like he has money… a good possibility of a quick bribe! The chat with the driver goes well and he just managed to squeeze 20 rand(currency) from the asshole. Tonight the beers are going to flow!
That driver is me, on my way to deliver over 4 tonnes of explosives, weapons and ammo, hidden throughout the car, back to my handlers in South Africa. They’re going to change some of the mechanisms and then distribute the weapons to selected individuals. The contact that was supposed to meet me in Beitbridge town, never showed up. My handler told me to stay put in Zimbabwe and wait for instructions. I was not there to become a target and decided to cross the border, regardless of instructions. This is the last of 7 crossings and I have 14 days R&R lined up.
A mining magnate in Bolivia is being blackmailed. The messages demand 5000 Dollars be paid…or else…information, relating to illegal activities, bribes and insider trading will be released to his stockholders. He decides to pay, meets the blackmailer in a La Paz hotel and hands him the cash. The blackmailer is later described to authorities but no person of that description can be found on video footage of the hotel lobby.
The mining magnate owed money to my very good friend in La Paz. Various attempts at getting paid are met with threats of violence and even legal repercussions. A plan is made and the blackmailer is actually just a collector of debts owed. This is Bolivia, not the USA! Video footage was replaced at the exact time of departure and the hotel staff helped for a fee of about 20$ (lucky this was before newfandangled CCTV circuits were installed)
The examples above represent only a few… there are hundreds more situations of personal reliance on the fact that First Impressions Count.
Coffee and a quick walk outside for a cigarette. Don’t stray too far away, I’ll be back shortly and I will definitely get to the good bits. 😉
What are the Real-life implications of this?
In my humble opinion, people are conditioned from a very young age, to represent themselves as others should see them in a certain situation, not who they really are! Even in seemingly innocent situations like a first date… the boy dresses up to impress the girl and parents. He combs his hair and thinks of a few fancy words to use when speaking to the dad. The girl puts on her make-up with just a little extra care. She puts the condom that her mom gave in a shelf because she doesn’t want the guy to think she’s cheap and easy.
On FaceBook and other social media sites, people post profiles that are nothing like the REAL self. Of course not, who would want to click LIKE or be friends with that REAL self? Every day in a wide variety of situations, we get exposed to other people’s profiles…what they want you to think of them.
If you fill in some official form and it asks “have you ever had any other name/identity” (or something similar), what do you write? Should I write there that I have had over a hundred identities, all backed by id’s, passports, licences, credit cards, etc. etc. …or do I just scribble N/A… Not Applicable? When questioned by the authorities, you tell them the truth? …or do you tell them the part you think they should know?
In our everyday life, we seldom have a chance to delve a bit deeper. The constraints of time and the firm belief that we’re able to sum up a person, place, situation or even a blog like this, based on our first impressions, makes us confident that we’re right in our opinion about it. How much of that turns out to be the truth?
Yesterday I had a very interesting email from a reader. He commented about the blog, asked some questions and then made an amazingly astute comment. It was so accurate that it was eerie! …He said that the last chapter of this blog was going to be the Revenge Chapter. (Chapter 1 – part 2, directly after the Fat Milton Chapter)
How could that be possible? This person knew something that even my closest friends don’t know. I had to find out how that conclusion was reached. In follow-up emails, it came to light that HE was the first person to contribute to my campaign and that he is actually an aspiring script writer, interested in plots and the intricate twists and turns of stories. His deduction was based on the fact that he would have done it that way because this blog deals with many people and surely there are many revenge endings…why not put them all into one, final bombshell chapter.
In a movie called “Clown” a guy gets dressed in a clown’s suit for his son’s birthday party. The suit actually starts taking over the man and he turns into a child-eating monster. (Yeah I know, it’s a MOVIE) Taking that into a real-life scenario, people often assume another persona/identity and they are unable to get out of that assumed identity. They are forced to continue the lie because it would be detrimental if they showed themselves for who they really are.
Sorry, another movie example… In the SAW movies, a Jigsaw and/or his apprentice force people to confront certain elements of their lives. He actually gives them a chance to “set things right” as it were. They have to come clean or face the terrible truths in their lives. The alternative is quite likely a painful death. The scariest part of this movie is not, as you may think, anything visual or audible. For me, the scariest part is to try and fathom what was going on in the writers‘ brains.
Realizing fully that the above two examples are based on fiction, they are also two reasons for this book/blog. Throughout the writing of the Blog, which will take more than two years, you will meet many people and in some case you will also be presented with ONE version of the truth. Some of those people wore a “suit” almost like in the Clown movie and they have problems taking the suit off. Others in this story, will be forced by their own circumstances…and those events that I choose to initiate, to confront the past in some form or another.
For the most part, it’s just about those people telling the truth and giving some rational explanation/reason or credible information that would exonerate them. In some other cases it gets complicated and involves Police and other authorities, for the simple fact that they broke some serious laws! Arrests WILL follow and the natural processes of the law will take care of that…mainstream media will keep you up-to-date much better than I could hope to do. After all, I am just a normal person, not a professional writer.
In all, this blog will deal with 181 individuals. It started with Fat Milton and ends with Fat Milton…or more correctly, it ends with the chapter following the one about Fat Milton. Now don’t go thinking that you know who, where, what, why etc etc… Keep reading and find out!
Oh!..before I forget, the Easter Egg PERK gets taken down on the 11th December 2015.
If you are not an “insider” by then, the perk is lost to you, along with the really important information and insights that accompany it. Avoid the let-down and contribute now. It’s JUST ONE DOLLAR… You’ll be glad you did! Besides, it’s almost X-mas and you have been reading my blog for free. Don’t you think you owe me at least that much? 🙂
Thanks for reading today’s chapter. Stay safe and remember that First Impressions Count!