Rajesh Kumar

Optimizing life, one day after the next

The ARR Effect

02 Jun 2009

When I was a kid, my elementary school teachers taught me that the first impression is the best impression. However, as years progressed, my mentors cautioned me saying that I should always regard first impressions with a grain of salt because they could be misleading.

But 4 years ago, and after listening to enough of ARR's music, I realized they were all wrong. When it comes to really smart and really talented people, first impressions are not just usually wrong, but are always wrong. I can think of at least 5 ridiculously smart friends who seemed like complete idiots when I first met them.

I have to credit ARR with this epiphanic realization. People often think he's a great musician. But that's only after listening to the songs you are told are good, or the media thinks are good. He has a few hidden gems here and there that only a select few people will have heard sufficient times to realize the true magic of ARR's compositions. This magic number is often 8-10 times.

I call this the "ARR effect": The first impression is always the wrong impression.

Now don't get me wrong. I'm not saying you shouldn't try to put forward a good first impression. In fact, there's a ton of people out there who fall for good first impressions. And you should, like I do all the time, take advantage of that to your fullest.

But smart people never worry about putting forward a first impression. Because if you think they're idiots after meeting them once, that's your loss, not theirs. Smart people never try to compensate. They know themselves well, so they never have to prove themselves to anyone.

How many smart people have you rejected from your life because you thought they were morons? On the contrary, if someone comes across as being complete morons the first time, I'd honestly pause and start taking an active interest in this person. Because who knows, underneath the societal hood, this guy might actually have something interesting to say that might benefit me.

Good interviewers know this already. You should too. Be judging, not deciding.

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