The Red Velvet Blazer Paradox
Or why luck and first impressions mean more than you think
Look at that god damn beautiful man up there, I bet you'd give him the contents of your pockets if he asked for them. I know I would, but then again, I'm a sucker for a good looker in sweet threads.
Let me introduce to you, what I like to call...
The Red Velvet Blazer Paradox
Most of my success in life has not came from hard work. It has come from good first impressions and luck. Don’t get me wrong, I am a bloody hard worker and have been since my first gig behind a bar 10 years ago. However, you can work hard your whole life and still not get what you want.
Why is this? Life is simply too complicated for hard work alone to be the major role in your success. Too much is in the hands of the unknown. Too much sits in the perspectives of others. Too much of life is based on bias and our silly mental frameworks for what it means to be an achiever, a winner.
Let me explain with an example.
When I moved from the UK to Canada seven years ago I started a new job. The company was very entrepreneurial in nature, a start up in the health foods industry. I started as a manager of one of their retail locations but within a few months I had received several promotions and was running the show with the big dogs.
As I mentioned above, I am a bloody hard worker and management was something that came very natural to me. I stepped out of big bars in the UK so I had a fast paced, professional mentality prior to moving to Canada. However, in all my years working like a diligent son of a bitch in the UK, not once did I ever achieve the level of professional success that I found myself in within just a few months of life in Canada.
I doubled my salary, originally sitting on around 36,000 dollars a year and moving into a 60,000 salary range. I somehow cut y hours in half too. In the UK I was pulling 16 hour long days and 80 hour workweeks. My new role in Canada rarely saw me above 45. This was part due to boundaries and restrictions I placed on what I was able to give, but also because there were different expectations at the outset.
This is where the luck comes in. Half way through the year, one of my colleagues and co-founders of the company told me a story. The story involved yours truly, and the first impression I gave off when I introduced myself to the team.
Blazers For Days
After working for just a short while I decided to take a trip to one of their other locations to show some of my new friends the workplace that was to be home for me. I had just found myself a dashingly sexy red velvet blazer for about 15 buck in a thrift store around the corner. It adorned my shoulders, along with 6 rather beautiful woman. Now, these were friends, specifically friends of my partner at the time, in no way am I actually cool enough or good looking enough to have this be a normal thing.
So here I was, rocking in to the retail store, red velvet blazer and a bunch of beautiful woman on my shoulder, looking like a right king. The impression I gave off that day was of someone that had All their ducks in order and was thriving. A confident, strong, social and well put together man. Which I’ll say right now was and still is only about 20% true.
I began to slowly realize how important first impressions are. I started looking into the topic and studying the idea and found that threads of truth ran deep. Indeed, first impressions marked a significant amount of our peers opinions of us. It turns out that humans are pretty crappy at breaking out of the bad habits that are associated with first impression.
I hear you crying out, “No, no, not me”. But yes, absolutely you. Think about it, go down the line of your experiences, open up chapters of your book. Reflect on how things came to be, it is not necessarily that hard to do. Think about your relationships, your successes, your failures. Think about the people in your life that think highly of you, think about how you came to meet them. What was your first impression of them, what was the impression you gave them? Were you impatient, well dressed, drunk or confident? Were you talkative, did you use eye contact, did you uphold the mannerisms of social interaction?
I'm sure that soon enough you will be able to see the role that luck and the devilish first impressions plays throughout your life. When you realize this, don’t be upset or angry. Be content and keep working. It got you this far already didn’t it, why would all that have to change now.
Here’s to luck.