From my column in Niexter, Unwritten Thoughts: The important thing is what happens after that first impression – whether we get the book just because of its cover, or we read a little deeper, before making a decision? Similarly, after the first meeting, a person’s personality should take over.
Looks can be deceiving. Something that seems perfect at first glance might not be so wonderful, while something that looks ordinary might hide something brilliant. Even diamonds start as rough rocks. Their inner beauty shines only after someone takes the time to polish them.
Similar to diamonds, people need to be given the time and opportunity to shine. Susan Boyle is an example. The audience didn’t expect much from her, but she stunned everyone with her beautiful voice and incredible notes. This goes to show that unassuming people often have the most extraordinary talent. There’s a saying in Malaysia, "kecil-kecil cili padi," which refers to how the smallest chilies are the spiciest.
Participants from the reality TV show The Voice validate this idea. They are ordinary at first glance, but those fleeting images can be misleading, and the contestants can be highly talented. Even Mark Zuckerburg is not a particularly imposing man, but he founded Facebook and became a multi-billionaire. This hidden potential is why we need to take the time to know people for who they are. Once we do, appearances fall away, and we appreciate the person instead for a beautiful personality.
Sometimes, a person’s looks can make us feel intimidated and discourage us from making them our friends. But they are still human. Even gruff-looking people value friendships, and might not be as they seem. We shouldn’t shy away from someone because of appearances as we might miss out on a great friend by doing so.
Outside appearances shouldn’t sway us. The best books have the simplest covers, and it is the inside that counts.