The first impression happens when you meet someone and there are different views on how much it takes to create your first impression.
I just made a search on Google and this is what I found: 33 to 100 milliseconds, 10 milliseconds, 3 seconds, or 7 seconds. Beyond all the different answers, one thing is sure: it takes a very short amount of time to make a first impression.
The bad thing is that the first impression isn’t real information, but an information that helps you feel safe.
The first impression is an instinct triggered when you need information about something new, with which you didn’t engage before. The first impression helps you feel safe when things aren’t certain.
For example, let’s say at your job you have a new colleague. Depending on her clothes, behavior, skills, and many more aspects, you make a spontaneous decision that will make you feel safe.
Your brain hates the lack of information, so when it doesn’t have the needed information, it uses perception to fill in the blanks. For example, when you look at your new colleague and see that she’s all wearing black, you’ll have thoughts associated with that information. If she can’t speak properly when she introduces herself, you’ll have another thought. This way, you end up generating information that will make you feel safe.
Yes, that is the only purpose of the first impression: safety. Other than that, it makes no sense. Actually, if you’re not properly connected to the reality of the world we’re living in, the first impression may just keep you in a comfort zone and nothing else.
Maybe your new colleague is wearing black because someone close to her died. And maybe she can’t speak properly because too excited about the new job. But the first impression will never help you discover these things if you only care about the first impression and live your life based on the first impression you have on others.
As I was saying, the first impression only has the role to make you feel safe. If you see someone holding a knife, and that person is on the streets, not in the kitchen, then for sure the first impression will tell you that something isn’t right and you should be careful.
But beyond situations like this, you should ignore the information delivered by your brain in the first few (milli)seconds and start discovering what happens beyond that initial piece of information.
How to ignore the first impression
The information that you get from the first impression is an emotional and powerful information, that’s influencing directly your beliefs.
The beliefs that you already have are strengthened by your first impression by connecting the new situation to the powerful beliefs that you already have.
When you set yourself to ignore the first impression, you need to realize what it is that you’re ignoring: a powerful emotional information.
This information is not about a specific truth and only has the purpose to make you feel safe. Keep this thought in your mind and then set yourself to do this practical thing: every time you think you know something about someone you just met, doubt everything you think you know and ask questions about that topic.
For example, if your new colleague wears only black clothes and you believe she’s doing that because she’s listening to rock music, then ask her what bands does she like.
If your new colleague struggles speaking, then ask her for how long she’s been having the difficulties and if she’s done something about it.
Whatever you think about your new colleague is just an assumption and nothing more. And this assumption is generated by the first impression which wants you to feel safe.
Most times, it doesn’t make any sense.
It doesn’t make any sense to live your life based on some assumptions and let those assumptions guide your life.
Maybe your new colleague will be your newest best friend.
Maybe you and your new colleague will build a business together.
Maybe your new colleague will be there for you next time you’ll really need help.
But as long as your life is guided by your first impression and doesn’t let you truly know those you meet, your life will only be a maybe.
Remember that in life you get the things you deserve and need, not the things you desire. The people you meet and the things you get are those you deserve. Think about that.
After all, it could have been any other person or it could have been none. But it was exactly that specific person.
Give up the first impression, discover the things that are showing up in your life and enjoy.