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Backstage Experts

How What You Do Affects How You're Perceived

How What You Do Affects How You're Perceived

"Behavior is a mirror in which everyone shows his own image" - Chinese fortune cookie

I recently read the saying above on the "fortune" in my fortune cookie, and it reminded me of other similar sayings, such as "Actions speak louder than words" and "You are what you do." All of these sayings boil down to the same simple truth: We show the world what kind of people we are by what we do. Literally. How we treat others, how we look, how we manage our time are some ways, to list a few. Our behavior gives powerful non-verbal messages to others that tell them what to think about us. After all, they may say, "Never judge a book by its cover," but we all make assessments and judgments based on the available evidence before us. Knowing this can help us shape how others perceive us.

Our attire and our personal hygiene send strong messages. People may not consciously note that you look clean and neat, but they definitely notice when you are sloppy or otherwise not well-groomed.

How we manage our time sends a powerful message too. When we are on time, we are showing others that we are ready and eager for our appointment. Whereas when we are late, we may give the impression that we do not value other people's time, and we are not responsible. This may not be true, but it leaves a lasting impression.

When we are kind to others and offer them care and concern, our actions reflect kindly upon ourselves, and when we speak about others behind their backs, it says to others that we probably talk about them behind their backs as well.

How do you perceive yourself, and how do you want to be perceived by the world? Think about that. Think of ways to behave that promote that perception in yourself and in others.

Robert Curtiss always dreamed of becoming an actor and singer, and was in all of the plays and musicals throughout his school years in Massachusetts. He moved to New York City after college to pursue an acting career, and after many years of struggle and very little momentum or measurable success, he decided to go back to school to become a psychotherapist. While attending graduate school, Bob met his husband, entertainment manager John Essay. Together they decided to write a book to help actors navigate the confusing paths of show business, with information provided by John about the business, and information from Bob about maintaining a healthy mental equilibrium while pursuing the acting business. Over the next ten years, the “book” became a website – – and their dreams of working together were realized. Bob gave up his psychotherapy practice and started working for John full time.

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