You Look Marvelous!

 That’s what Billy Crystal says in his music video. So it must be true!

First impressions are important. This is something that allows us to interact, to connect; or not.

But that is just the veneer, the glitter. It’s the wrapping on the package.

On occasion the wrapping is indicative of the packages’ contents; often it is not. If you look deeper you are likely to be surprised; in a good way, or not so good way.

I learned the importance of first impressions many years ago when I was an enlisted man in the US Navy. I often drove home to New Jersey from Norfolk, Virginia on weekends. To start the trip you need to go on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel which is a toll road. I always wore my Navy uniform on the trip and when I would pull up to the toll booth, the toll collector always seemed rude and gruff. However; one trip I took,I was wearing a sport coat and tie since I was at a civilian event prior to starting the trip.  When I pulled up to the toll booth the toll collector said with a smile “Hello sir, isn’t it a beautiful evening?” I paused, somewhat surprised, and then said “sure is”. I paid the toll and drove off, quite puzzled. Why was the toll booth greeting so different? Then it dawned on me; the toll booth collector reacted to my appearance.

It was well known by sailors in Norfolk that many locals were not pleased to interact with sailors and showed some level of disdain. That was so because of the many ongoing negative incidents in town involving unruly sailors that were either rude, drunk or both.

So,the toll booth encounter was an “aha” moment for me. My guess was that the rather unpleasant toll booth encounters had to do with being just another sailor in the eyes of the toll collectors; and with the suit and tie encounter, I was an acceptable, pleasant civilian.  In other words, I looked “marvelous”! I had always heard that first impressions were important but this event proved to me how true it is. However, we all know that first impressions aren’t always lasting. Because when we start looking under the “wrapping”, we often find out that the item isn’t what was advertised! And, wasn’t so marvelous!

Published by jackzakthecoach

I am a retired Emeritus Professor at the University of South Florida and own my own Personal/Life Coaching business. I can and do coach anyone; however, my specialty is coaching retired professionals and those who are contemplating retirement.

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