Can you make a second first impression?

As I was growing up, I’ll be honest that I wasn’t much of a reader.  Summer reading lists for school didn’t interest me and it seemed like the only I thing I would read cover-to-cover was Modern Drummer magazine.  So surprise of all surprises that in 2010 I have already finished two books and am working on a third.  The Kindle app for the iPhone has certainly helped.

One of the books I most recently finished was “The 4 Hour Workweek” by Tim Ferriss. I was intrigued by the title, and wanted to see what his secret was.  Turns out it’s A LOT about eliminating time wasters, automating as many processes as possible and finding a business model that can be run from anywhere in the world.  There was also a lot of practical advice about getting out of the mindset that you HAVE to work a lot of hours to be productive – sometimes the most difficult hurdle to overcome.

And… while I am still working more than 4 hours per week, I have adopted some of Tim’s concepts to make my life more efficient, giving me more time to do the things I want to do.

At this point in our story, my only exposure to Tim was through his writing, and I would say it was a positive first impression.  Then I heard him speak.

I saw a video on his blog where he and a friend were recounting their favorite places in the world to visit, and I felt like he came off as a little pompous, holier than thou, and quite cocky – not a positive second impression – at first.

I thought again about my own perception of why I felt this way.  I think I was a little jealous that he had: A. the kind of time to go to all these places, B. the money to go to all these places, and C. time to pontificate about them on a video.

Had I not read his book, pompous Tim would be the impression that stuck with me.  If I were thinking of getting his book, I probably wouldn’t have.

But I had read his book, and his writing had had a positive impact on me.  So I gave this video, and pompous Tim a second chance.  This time I have to say my perception changed.  I realized he was just living the lifestyle he talked about creating in his book, and that if anything, this should lend credibility to what he was prescribing.

Looking back, Tim really made three first impressions on me.  I call them first impressions because they were each powerful enough to change my previous perception.  While we can’t completely control what others think of us, we can control how open our mind is to letting people prove themselves beyond the first meeting.

How often do we learn everything we need to know about a person from ONE first impression?  I would go out on a limb and say… never.

Thanks for reading!

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