May 282013

A few weeks ago, I quoted Shakespeare’s famous line that all the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players. This may not be exactly what the bard meant, but I think there’s a great deal in the idea that we are all actors in life’s theatre. Essentially, the audience knows only what we tell them (verbally or non-verbally) and, unless or until they have overwhelming evidence to the contrary, they will accept the character we present to them as who we really are. The downside to this is that it can be difficult to reinvent ourselves amongst people we’ve known for a long time – they have to be enlisted to support the change we want to make – but the upside is that every time we meet new people we have the opportunity to start again, to create the impression we want to give, to be the character we want to be.

To carry off a convincing portrayal of the you you want to be, you have got to look the part. Do not underestimate the extent to which we all make decisions (conscious or unconscious) about each other based on visual image and body language. Your clothes, shoes, accessories, hair and nails speak volumes about you, as do the way you walk, the way you sit, the way you look at people and a thousand other nuances of your self-presentation.

If you’re wanting to reinvent yourself, I recommend you have a good, long, critical look at yourself in the mirror. If you were someone else presented with the image in front of you, what assumptions would you make? Are the messages you’re giving off the ones you want the world to receive?

The great thing about dressing and behaving in the manner of the new you is that it will reinforce the change you want to make – twofold. Looking and acting like the new you will help you to inhabit that character and make it more and more genuine. And the fact that people are now relating and reacting to the new instead of the old you will keep you in that zone. What begins as roleplay will become the real you.

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