Years ago when I was in my early 20s, I did not want to believe there was a game being played around me.
You know what the game was? It was the fact that people judged me based on how I looked. Whether I was skinny, fit or not, what my clothes looked like, whether I had glasses or not.
The fact is, people judge you, and they assume certain things based on how you look.
Now there’s some interesting research suggesting that people have a few major judgements when it comes to how you look. Mostly, this is about how the world sees you when you’re fit or when you’re not, and what you can do about it.
Crazy Study: How the World Judges You
In one study, participants looked at pictures of thin people, fat people, and every body type in between. The participants made assumptions about their personality and the kind of person they thought they were (based on these pictures).
First, they looked at thin models. And thin models were perceived more favorably – friendlier, kinder, and more intelligent.
However, the overweight people were found to be more trustworthy, which is interesting. So even though overall, the thin people were viewed as more attractive in almost every category, they weren’t seen as trustworthy.
Unfortunately, the people that were viewed as less attractive, were also seen as less friendly, lazier, more dishonest, and even less successful.
The opposite obviously was true; the attractive ones were assumed to have their stuff together in life, while the opposite was true for people who were “unattractive.” That’s just one of the assumptions that these individuals made in this particular study – one of the biases that the observers had in this study.
Why People Judge You: The Attractiveness Halo Effect
Attractive people tend to have a halo surrounding them—they’re implicitly trusted, thought to be more intelligent or more successful. In general, they are more well-liked for no reason whatsoever.
Now, I know what you’re thinking.
You might be thinking, “Well, that sucks. I don’t look like Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie. So what am I supposed to do?”
The reality is that you can change certain things: how fit you are and how well you dress. And I know this all too well – because when I was a kid, I dressed like a humongous nerd.
I was incredibly thin and short. As a result, people just assumed that I was some kind of dork, that I played World of Warcraft all day, that I was bad at sports, and so on. Well, I did play World of Warcraft all day, but that’s beside the point.
The main thing is that because I was skinny and didn’t know how to dress well, people just assumed that I was a dork, even though I wasn’t really one. I was a slightly above average student, and a really good athlete, and didn’t care too much about school, but that’s how they perceived me.
The irony is that now, at age 30, where I am more muscular and know how to dress well, people will see me as the exact opposite of how I was in high school. People would say, “Oh, you must have been a high school jock or someone who was really popular in high school…”
I’m just speechless here. If you could live my life and have understood what it was like to be the uncool kid, the one who was always bullied for looking young and being tiny, always picked on, never got the girl he wanted until his mid 20s, you’d think it’s hilarious.
The world will always judge you for something – so why not have it judge you for being awesome?
The Good News – You Can Change How the World Sees You
Alex when he was 18* years old, a proud forever-alone-xerox machine salesman.
If you are not happy with the way you perceive yourself or you think the way the world perceives you, you can change. You may never be able to change your bone structure or your nose, but you can change how fit you are.
And people perceive you very differently when you lose twenty pounds. Most people look more attractive with a more defined jaw, less flesh around their neck or around their waist, and with clothes that fit better.
The fact is, if you take time to learn how to dress, just as I did, people will see you differently. And sometimes, without even gaining muscle or losing weight, just learning to dress better can tremendously change how the world sees you.
I’m not saying how the world sees you should overshadow how you see you – but the world is always going to judge you for something.
So yes, of course, the world is going to judge you for what you look like. That sucks and that’s not fair, but that’s also a fact just as gravity is a fact.
Why not control and change the things you want to change and control? Think about the possibility of reinventing yourself – because, being human,yYou can change who you are, you can change what you look like. You can change how you dress. You can change how you show up in life.
It doesn’t mean that you’re changing you—you’re just changing how the world sees you, and maybe ultimately, even how you see you.
If that meant feeling (and being) more confident, why not take it?
What is the one thing that you can change that would also change the way the world sees you?