A New Yorker fiction story titled “Black Box” by Jennifer Egan, stated the following: “The first 30 seconds in a person’s presence are the most important.” I think Jennifer is correct.
• I have always been inclined to place a lot of value on my first impression of a person, and my first impressions are mostly very accurate.
• Anytime I rely on my eyes, my judgment is often good. If I rely on other peoples’ eyes, my judgment then belongs to them, but I trust my eyes more.
• Allowing my ears to make judgments doesn’t work well. Other opinions or gossip is 50 percent accurate, at best. You only have the opinion of the person spreading the gossip, and they are often biased against whoever they are gossiping about.
Jennifer’s aforementioned statement may also be saying that how we come across the first 30 seconds of the initial meeting is important, too. Do we hug, smile or offer a warm handshake? Do we remember his/her name? The first meeting may be the last if it is obvious we would rather be somewhere else.
• In researching American Indian history, it was clear that they felt first impressions may be correct, because the Great Spirit is standing next to you when you meet a person for the first time. The Great Spirit will help you determine if you can trust this person or not. Actually, with the Great Spirit present, you have two opinions.
• Probably all of us have been wrong a time or two about our initial first impression of someone. If we are wrong after getting to know the person, then we need to admit it and move forward with a positive attitude. I plan to continue to trust my first impression with the understanding that I may be wrong sometimes.
• Some people are too quick to take on negative thoughts. As my mother said, “Don’t go through life making mountains out of molehills.”
• So your neighbor didn’t say hello when you walked by her yard and said “hello.” So what? Perhaps she is having a bad day. Did it occur to you that maybe she didn’t even hear you? Are you planning to worry about it all day long or until the next time you see her?
• When small things like “she didn’t say hello” upset you, you need to change. Small negative episodes become bigger if you can’t learn to let go of anything negative. Negative thoughts and negative reactions prevent you from experiencing inner peace. If you live in a negative world, there will be no quiet, peaceful contentment available for you.
• When my mind is quiet, my body becomes silent and restful. When I dump negative thoughts and move away from negative people, finding inner harmony is easy.
• Those who can’t let go of minor, negative episodes always expect the worst in life. What you expect is usually what you receive.
• As soon as a negative thought starts to enter your life, counter with a positive or funny thought. Instead of expecting failure, move forwards, anticipating immediate success. Visualize finishing the 10K race instead of worrying about being last or dying from a heart attack.
• It’s true, you may get slapped if you kiss her, but it’s also true she may kiss you back!
• If you never ask anyone to dance, you will never be rejected. It’s also true that, if you never ask, you will never dance.
• When it comes to gambling with love or passion, take a chance. Spread those emotional wings and fly.
Bob Billingsley is a columnist at the Mountain Democrat. His column appears bi-weekly.