“She got her looks from her father. He’s a plastic surgeon.”
The connection between physical attractiveness and success isn’t as strong as we believe or fear. I really believe that “looks” is oversold as being a critical requirement for success. Self-confidence, friendliness, charisma and charm are much bigger components than recognized and appreciated. And the good news is that all these wonderful traits can be learned. This is not to say that physical attractiveness isn’t desirable and useful in creating favorable first impressions (to me the real question many highly attractive people should ask themselves is do they know how to leverage that great first impression).
We can’t change our genetic inheritance, and we are a certain height and age, but we can change the packaging. My wife (Kathy) has made a commitment to dressing well and looking good. Many compliments, often from strangers, come her way. What effect do you think this has on her self-esteem? What effect do you think feeling good about yourself would have on your enjoyment of life and being successful?
If you don’t think packaging matters, watch a TV makeover show and notice the before-and-after reaction of the audience to the makeover and also how the transformation makes the person feel.
Are you taking care of yourself, e.g., living a reasonably healthy life style? If not, you are sending a message to the world that you aren’t worth caring about. Indifference to one’s well-being isn’t a trait that healthy people will find attractive. Remember that like attracts like. Low self-esteem, insecure people attract low self-esteem, insecure people. If you feel you are damaged goods, you run the risk of accepting the unacceptable or settling, rather than doing what confident people do: they go after what they really want.
Do your friends ever compliment you on your appearance? Do you have any idea what looks flattering on you? If in doubt or inexperienced, solicit opinions from friends. Men, don’t trust your instincts on this one. It might be advantageous to get feedback from the opposite sex. Your really cool favorite tie (the orange one with the picture of the Hulk) might not be working in your best interests.
Practice good grooming. For men, that starts with clean nails and a decent haircut. Good grooming and neatness are more important than expensive clothes. We can all afford to be neat.
It’s a good policy to look your best at all times. You never know when opportunities will occur, and good first impressions are desirable and bad first impressions are so hard to overcome. Of course there are other reasons to look your best at all times. You will feel better about yourself and more easily capitalize on networking and business opportunities.
It doesn’t take excessive money to build a good wardrobe. It’s knowing what looks good and which accessories can enhance or detract from your appearance. I remember meeting a salesman who was marketing a very expensive product. It was important for him to project a highly successful and confident image. He wore an expensive suit but the look was ruined because he was also wearing a cheap Timex watch. The classic book on attire is Dress For Success by Malloy. The book gives good advice on how to build a good wardrobe inexpensively.
Here is a great tip for women in the business world. Kathy carries her business cards in a beautiful ornate silver carrying case. Now what kind of lasting impression do you think dispensing creative and well designed business cards from a lovely carrying case creates vs. a name and phone number hastily written on a cocktail napkin?
Attractiveness is not a label that falls from the sky on a select few. It is an active achievement, a conviction that you are worthwhile, worth talking to and worth looking at. People who feel good about the way they look have found a vital key to success in relationships, in business and in life.