This is my third year of writing about the FirstImpressionsPower of First Impressions, which is integral to my business. In the previous posts, I wrote about visual and online first impressions. Now we will look into the power of the “halo” effect. First impressions are very important, but substance is what truly counts.

Let me explain. The halo effect is a type of cognitive bias in which our overall impression of a person influences how we feel and think about his or her character. If you have a good first impression of someone who is attractive, you may have the natural tendency of rating that person’s character and personality more favorably than you would of someone who is less attractive. Here’s a great example. If you did not know who this person below was, what would your immediate first impression be?

EinsteinI’m assuming most of you know who this person is, but if you per chance don’t, what would you initially think of him?  I must believe that your first impression of Albert Einstein would be negative. Now his face is associated with genius, not madness. He is the person who has come to define what genius is.

The problem is that few of us are Einsteins and we just don’t get the chance to rectify a negative first impression!  If what others feel about you matters, then focus on how others think of you the first time you meet.  ALSO, pay attention to how your first impression may prejudice you against others.

Think about all the many people who have been in the news who have shocked or disappointed you because they “popped your bubble” when you learned what they really were all about. If you have been a victim of a Ponzi scheme, extortion, theft, or misrepresentation by someone you trusted and depended on, it’s easy to become cynical.  Certainly those under the spell of Bernie Madoff must feel that way! The man had no conscience or substance whatsoever.

The best advice I can offer is to be true to yourself. Don’t pretend to be someone you really aren’t, because your true identity will be discovered. Make that first impression you leave be the real deal. In so doing, you will never have to make excuses or apologize. You are genuine. Remember that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Beauty is not just skin deep. It emanates from the core of your soul and defines the real you.

Will everybody be drawn to you? Likely not, but those who are, will like you for the real you. Many years ago a friend became upset with me and determined that she would hurt me by besmirching my reputation. Suffering through the ordeal was painful, but I learned my best defense was not to vehemently deny the slander being spread about me, but rather to hold my head high and be true to who I really am. People either chose to ignore or believe the lies that were spread about me. I have forgiven this person and we have a friendly relationship, but I know that, to this day, there are still some folks out there who chose to believe the lies. I will probably never be able to redeem myself to them, but it really no longer matters to me.

Finally, the person I have selected to feature is one who has the power to move people in a way that few others can.

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I write this blog during a time that is mesmerizing our country. This man’s name is Jorge Mario Bergoglio. From the time he was a little boy and Pope 3throughout his life you can tell he is made of true great substance. He has warmth in his eyes, a smile that is intoxicating and sentiment that melts your heart. I would say the halo effect that this man has radiated from childhood till now is the reason he was chosen to hold the most reverent position there is in the world. He is now Pope Francis and is beloved by people around the globe. There are no barriers of religion, race or politics. His love for humanity has impacted all of us. We are glued to televisions spellbound by the pure and deep goodness that exudes from this man. ask pastor john We are watching grace in action. I’m not a Catholic, but I watch Pope Francis spread both his humility and his humanity for all peoples in the most profound way.

When I was a young girl, our family had the amazing good fortune to be in Rome and experience the appearance of the Pope at that time, John XXIII. My dad informed me that Pope John was the most powerful man in the entire world. Being a young girl with immense worldly knowledge, I corrected my dad by informing him that the President of the U.S. was the most important person in the world. That calls for a big smiley face, don’t’ you think?! ☺