Last week, I fulfilled one of my fondest wishes and ordered the full Buffy the Vampire Slayer series from Amazon (it was a killer sale). I practically tackled the UPS delivery man when he showed up with the box. My first experience? The bottom of the DVD box fell off without me doing anything more than taking it out of the shipping box. My immediate thought? Weak Chinese glue. However, Super Glue saved the day.
Back to my immediate thought on weak Chinese glue, I’m a little surprised how quickly that thought popped into my head. For all I knew, the box was made somewhere in the U.S. or Europe, but when the box feel apart in my hands, my first thought was China. Whether we recognize it or not, we’re trained to respond to things in a certain way . Everything from our first impressions to the opinions of family and friends impacts our response. I have had several things with the “Made in China” stamp not hold up, ergo, when something falls apart easily, my first thought is China.
The same thing can happen in a good way. Take Super Glue—the other half of this conversation. I didn’t panic over the box bottom falling off because I had Super Glue. I knew it would fix the problem because my association with Super Glue tells me that it’s fixed my problems in the past.
We also do the same thing with people. How difficult is it to change your perception of another person, particularly if you had a bad encounter? And there’s a sticky problem with impressions and/or associations—they often back us into corners.
Impressions play a valuable role in helping us make our way through an increasing amount of noise. However, they are equally capable of stopping us from experiencing something truly remarkable. In short, don’t be Harold without distinct ideas. Look forward to the trouble of having to change your mind at least once in awhile.