Small improvements to radically change how other perceive you.

Nick with Dreadlocks

Nick with more reputable hair

I have worked for a lot of different employers and have had many different looks, this blog post is my advice for improving the impression people have of you and perhaps improving the impression you have of yourself. I wear buttoned up dress shirts; most of my colleagues wear t-shirts and hoodies. This post is not about submitting to the corporate behemoth, loosing your individualism or style. How you look is important; everyone judges everyone else on how they look and this post will help you look your best.

First impressions are made almost instantly. Off the top of my head, impressions are made based on:

  • How you look
  • Your current state & how you feel
  • How you verbalize your thoughts

This post will only focus on attributes that you can positively start enhancing today, so that means plastic surgery and hair implants are not an option. Also, I will not be addressing the last subtopic of how you will verbalize your thoughts in this post. Finally always remember this rule: Don’t make excuses, find results.

How you look

Hairstyle

Dreadlocks are very polarizing; either people love them or think they are dirty. I would know because I had them for a year and unfortunately, people tend to think the later. In my opinion the best hairstyle for you is the one you can consistently maintain with a minimum amount of effort. If you want to invest your time in having longer or extreme hair and maintaining it, be my guest. Your hair should always be clean and neat. Having a consistent and well-polished image demonstrates that you are an adult. I write about what I actually do, I used to have dreadlocks, now I don’t. It is a lot easier and older people don’t cross to the other side of the street when they see me.

A few thoughts on balding: embrace it and realize that it not a big problem or shave your head completely and embrace that. As far as I know there is no cure, so don’t spend time or money on them. Most importantly, don’t spend time worrying or trying to cover up your balding, you have much more important things to do.

General Appearance

Even if no one recognizes the time you invest in your general appearance it will pay off because you know you are investing time in it. Do you clean and cut your nails instead of biting them? Congratulations, you have accomplished something 25% of the adult human race cannot resist.

Perhaps you have acne, dry skin or incredible amounts of body hairy? Cool, it is time to find a solution. If you have been trying creams and lotions all of your life and you still have a problem, perhaps it is time to try something else. I had terrible acne as a teenager and tried a number of things. My solution was to stop eating chocolate, stop drinking pop, start drinking water and apply a small amount of benzle peroxide cream. I truly believe my acne steamed from my gamer days of eating crap foods and guzzling down pop (side note: I’m thankful energy drinks weren’t as mainstream and popular when I was a teen). Is that the reason why I had acne? Perhaps, or perhaps my acne reduced thanks to the placebo effect. The end result is I no longer have acne. Start experimenting with your general health problem and find what minimizes it. Easier said than done, I know, I’ll write a post on motivation soon.

Clothes

If you want to improve what people think of you, the easiest way I have found to do this is dress for success. Dressing up once a month for that special presentation is stupid; dress up for every day because every day is a presentation to the world. I know, it sounds corny but it is very true.

Take a look at how the seam rests perfectly on the shoulder

My definition of dressing up does not mean wearing a suit and tie. I want you to dress slightly above your peers and colleagues. I want you to be noticed but not too much. Think clean and concise instead of loud and seeking at
tention. You don’t need expensive clothes to look good; you need clothes that fit. You have been wearing clothes that are size medium for all of your life? Have you ever tried a small or a large? Clothes fit differently, so you need to spend some time picking out your clothes. A small in one store is a small in another. My number one rule I would suggest to you: the seam of all shirts must fall on the top of your shoulders .

This is my number one rule. If I find a shirt/sweater/jacket that I like and it doesn’t follow this rule I don’t buy it. That’s the end of it. Don’t buy clothes that are too small for you. You can walk that line carefully if you are lean but it is obvious when you are trying to fit into a smaller shirt in the same way that an oversized t-shirt looks ridiculous. Find clothes that fit correctly and for NOW don’t worry if you’re a size 32 waist or size 42.

Also, I’ve found clothes in the dryer either shrink too much or don’t shrink at all. Don’t believe that if it’s a little big it will shrink to fit in the dryer. On that note, don’t ever dry clothes in a dryer. Hang clothes outside for that fresh air smell or hang clothes inside on hangers. Dryers degrade the clothes quality.

Do not fret about what clothes match what, sure it may look marginally better but you should first spend your time improving other parts of yourself first. Also, don’t trust the sales associates, they are out to upsell you, everything looks good on you according to them. Trust the advertisers, see what the mannequins and models in the picture advertisements are wearing and try that exact combination on. For all things we want to try and find the balance between: quick, simple and efficient. Also, never, ever wear something that is dirty, smells odd or has a hole. If you think about hiding a stain with a sweater or think that no one will notice it, think again friend. Don’t do it. It is messy and undoes all of the work we have done up to this point.

The average person has too many clothes, some of which don’t fit! If you won’t wear some of your clothes on a first date why do you still keep them in your closet? I’m not recommending you completely change your wardrobe, quite the opposite. Find your favorite pieces of clothes (that fit) and wear those exclusively. You want to look awesome every day. No exceptions.

Upkeep

Always have access to breath mints, lipbalm and tissues. When I break this rule I always regret it. Want to impress someone after you’ve had a lunch somewhere? Offer them a breath mint afterwards, so simple and yet it subliminally suggests you are prepared for any situation. Lipbalm prevents chapped lips. You know how annoying it is to have chapped lips and you know it doesn’t look pretty. Put an extra 1 minute into your routine and prevent this. Having a travel sized packet of tissue is also important since sniffling or using your sleeve is annoying, repulsive and not appealing.

Brush your teeth, floss and clean your tounge with a tongue brush & scrapper. 80 to 90 percent of all cases of bad breath is from bacteria on your tounge. It also gives you the added bonus of feeling awesomely clean. Is it weird that I have a toothbrush in my desk at work? I don’t care, it means I have fresh breath.

Clean out your wallet on a weekly basis. Have a harsh look at everything in your wallet. Trim the fat. If you’re a receipt hoarder like my Dad, stop it. At the very least, keep the receipts at home and out of your wallet. At the time of writing this article I have in my wallet: 150 Euros, my health insurance card, my American credit/debit card, five of my business cards, a condom, and my student card. My wallet also contains my Canadian credit card that I should remove and two train ticket receipts that I will recycle at my earliest convenience. Since we are on the topic of wallets, don’t ever sit down with your wallet in your back pocket.A wallet in your back pocket hurts your posture and can cause back, neck and shoulder pain.

Your current state and how you feel

Finding your ideal state of mind and killing anxiety

Read this paragraph and follow the instructions, I will soon ask you to take a second, close your eyes and think to yourself. How would you feel if you had no debt, no stress, no annoying tasks or appointments you are dreading, had your ideal body type and a loving family or significant other who brought you flowers randomly to put on your desk? Okay, click this link, it will open a new website window to Rainy Mood and play some nice relaxing, soothing rain music. Go ahead, press it and take a few minutes to yourself thinking about your ideal lifestyle.

Did you notice how your shoulders dropped, maybe you felt a little less stress, maybe you let out a fresh of breath air? Try and find this state as much as possible during every waking moment of your life. Its tricky sometimes I know, but there is no benefit to feeling negative.

“Anxiety is needless and imaginary. It’s fear about fear, fear that means nothing…Anxiety doesn’t protect you from danger, but from doing great things.” –Seth Godin

You are anxious because you don’t know the outcome of that presentation, or that question you ask, or maybe there is a big event that is about to happen whether that be the birth of your first child, a family or friend who is dying or moving for a job promotion. Congratulations, you are experiencing life! You aren’t sitting on your sofa watching T.V or going through the motions of monotonous life. You are expiring life and all of its complexities. You will feel a range of your emotions and hopefully have enough time to reflect and realize how minute arguments or deadlines you were worried about pale in comparison to this event.

Diet

I’m not here to tell you to find the ideal body type and work towards it, because if I did I would be a hypocrite. From September – December I was travelling through the USA and in Europe with little exercise and haven’t seen the inside of a gym for 6 months. In a future post I will discuss my current life goals and one of them is radically increasing my body mass, but until them I can’t lecture you on working out.

However, what I can lecture you on is drinking water and tea. Stop drinking pop and try to stop drinking coffee. It is an artificial replacement for sleep and a natural zest for life. Water helps you feel less sluggish, is incredibly healthy for your body and it helped clear my skin. Tea is not only tasty but it has several health benefits i’m sure you’ve all heard before.

Sleep, nap and breaks

Now you know what to drink, let us spend some time talking about why you needed so much caffeine in the first place: a lack of sleep. Under sleeping and over sleeping sucks. You can maintain an insanely high level of concentration with proper napping and breaks. Want to learn more about optimizing your sleep? I suggest you do some research into polyphasic sleep. Polyphasic sleep is the sleep strategy of having naps strategically throughout the day which allows for less total sleep time and feeling just as good as a full eight hours. Right now I’m experimenting with Biphasic sleep and lucid dreaming. There will be more to come on that once I have results. As a personal anecdote I wrote a portion of this blog post on a train in Germany and I was yawning profusely since I had approximately 6 hours of sleep the night before. (In my own words at the time I said:) I am now going to close my laptop and have a 20-30 minute nap. See you soon.

That’s it! A few simple lifestyle changes to dramatically improve your happiness. Summaries are great for remembering so here is what you just read:

  • Having a consistent and well-polished image demonstrates that you are an adult.
  • Dressing up once a month for that special presentation is stupid, dress up for every day because every day is a presentation to the world. Have clothes that fit, don’t use the dryer and prioritize your clothes and donate the ones that are taking up space in the back of your closet.
  • Always have access to breath mints, lipbalm and tissues. Brush, floss and clean your tongue.
  • Get rid of things in your wallet that you do not use on a weekly basis, with the exception of a condom if you feel so inclined. Receipts, that old stick of gum, whatever.
  • Relax. Chill out. Those issues you are fretting and wasting so much energy over may not be as big as you think. Don’t make mountains out of mole hills.
  • Drink water and sleep for a proper amount of time.

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