I picked up my mail the other day, and I had an envelope that looked like it was an emergency. Right on the front of the envelope, in bold, ALL-CAPS letters, it said:
IMPORTANT RENEWAL NOTICE
IMMEDIATE RESPONSE REQUESTED
Immediately my mind started racing. Did I forget to pay an important bill? Was I in trouble? I quickly opened up the letter and found… well, it wasn’t really that important or urgent after all. It was a non-profit organization asking me to donate money.
I quickly threw the envelope in the trash, annoyed about the urgency of the packaging.
I think we deal with this disconnect a lot in life, whether it be in advertising, our work, or even our relationships. If something is really important and worthy of our time, we don’t need a lot of convincing. The product, opportunity, or person can stand on its own. We can see the qualities inherent in the product, opportunity, or person, and we want to pursue it.
On the other hand, if someone has to do a lot of convincing, hand waving, or rely on pressure or instilling anxiety to sell me something, I’m more skeptical. In fact, when this happens, my gut feeling is that the product, opportunity, or person isn’t that awesome after all.
I think this principle applies to how we present ourselves in relationships as well. If you try really hard to present yourself as something you are not, people can see through that. And they usually don’t like it. It’s usually a better strategy to be authentic and true to yourself.
Discussion: What is your reaction when someone tries really hard to present themselves a certain way? In what ways do you present yourself as different or better than you really are? What would it look like to focus on presenting yourself in an authentic way?