Legend has it that noted Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw was propositioned by danseuse Isadora Duncan who fantasised that their child would have his brains and her beauty, and thus it was their bounden duty to ‘facilitate’ such a child’s entry into the world. Shaw’s laconic response was of course even more legendary, since he refused outright, stating that the child might inherit his ‘beauty’ and her ‘brains’!
Looks or the lack of them have indeed played a major role in human history. Good lookers or even better lookers have gotten away with ‘murder’ at times, simply on the strength of their appearance which dazzled the eyes of the onlookers into taking biased decisions.
A men’s joke tells the tale of how a stunner walked off with a bounty at a gambling den, claiming that the dice had rolled in her favour. Her rivals at the table were all men of course, and they kept blaming each other long after, for focussing on the victor instead of concentrating on the game!
In modern times there are many studies which indicate that facial beauty has given a fillip to a career which might not otherwise have taken off. It is indeed a fact that a good looking person makes more of an impact in an interview as well as in the first meeting that he or she attends with a group, than do others.
Ray Williams writes in Psychology Today that physically attractive people certainly have the edge in life as they are preferred for significant roles in a plethora of fields over average looking persons.
But there are several detractors of this theory as well. Williams himself quotes a study by psychologist Alan Feingold who discovers that there are “no notable differences” in levels of sociability, dominance, general mental health, or intelligence between attractive and unattractive people.
Having been in public service for a long while now, one has come to some conclusions of one’s own on this issue. It is indeed a fact that great-lookers make headway in the introductory stages of an interaction or a presentation, by becoming the cynosure of all eyes for a while, but it is also true that their true mettle is what decides their success in the ultimate analysis.
Despite not having been blessed with great looks, some of us have never really felt any ‘lack’ in our lives. And somehow the shades of success that one enjoys present an aura to others that enhances the perception of one’s looks as well! The overall impression that one conveys is what matters after all, and if one is a good communicator as well as reasonably adept at one’s work, looks take a back seat.
The youth of our country look much better than we used to, for sure, these days. Even uncles and aunts have started looking like upgraded versions of themselves, with a plethora of style treatments at their beck and call. But personality is what truly matters, even in this era of slickness, when a plain James will dress up to look astonishingly good.
And the personalities of human beings can be honed as well as fine tuned, unlike physical features which more or less remain the same, or become worse, as time takes its toll.
Many a normal looking person has wowed friends and colleagues by dint of his or her pizzazz and confidence. It is the inner self which determines how much outer glow one emanates, and there are numerous examples of those who have transformed themselves by simply becoming more positive and warm human beings.
“A smile is an inexpensive way to change your looks” advises an internet quote. A scowl can make even a George Clooney or Hrithik Roshan look ugly after all.
It is also true that those who carry within them a pool of inner peace, by practising calmness and meditating regularly, or by other means, look more beautiful or handsome.
The crux is that good looks can get one only thus far and no more. It is the little basket of qualities that one holds onto as life unfolds which enhances one’s appeal much more than any exterior facade could ever accomplish.
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