How Do You Perceive Yourself?

by T Taylor

I used to do portraits in college to pay the bills. (It was also my little clever way to meet girls—but that’s another story.) Throughout this experience I learned the intricacies and details of the human face; the most studied, drawn, painted and sculpted subject matter in the world.

The face is amazing. For the most part, we all have two eyes, two ears, one nose, two nostrils, one mouth, teeth, chins, cheeks, eyebrows, hair, etc. Yet we are all so different. My wife Teresa and I talk about this a lot, especially when traveling through airports and other countries.

Portrait Cropped-THow can millions of people have the same features, yet look so uniquely different?

My cousin Lori sent me a video on Facebook this morning. It shows a portrait artist working while his subject sits just a few feet away from him, shielded by a thin curtain and not able to see the portrait or process.

He asks each person to describe their features as he draws them. As a former forensics artist, he is specially qualified to visualize and create a person’s looks without actually seeing them.

After the portrait is completed, another person comes in and describes the same person he just drew.
This person is talking “about” the other person’s features and characteristics; what stood out to them, and how they perceived that person.

What happens is fascinating.

Typically, the people describing themselves are more critical, even harsh about their own appearance and details. Yet, the people describing others are more gracious, forgiving and positive about another’s looks. Seeing these portraits next to each other is quite revealing.

Check out the video:

I believe it just proves that we are all created so beautifully different—and at the same time
—so wonderfully similar.

C.S. Lewis said, “What you see and what you hear depends a great deal on where you are standing.
It also depends on what sort of person you are.”

I will never forget the day I did portraits at a big festival, and especially of a young man who had a very deformed face. It was the kind of deformity that caused me to do a double take. The odd thing was that his guy came back and had me do his portrait three different times over the course of the day.

Each time I did his face differently. Each time I got to know him a little more. Each time he looked better, and his features more natural.

In the business world, this plays out everyday like a grand production on your own stage. How you are perceived, how your business is perceived and what people say about you to others is important. But how you feel and perceive yourself is equally, if not more important and meaningful.

The face doesn’t say it all, but is says a lot.

Be confident that you have the opportunity every day to greet your world with your best face forward and your best outlook for others, too. Even if outside forces and situations may warrant a negative attitude or perception—how you see yourself and others is what life, and business, is all about.

“There are things known and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception.”
― Aldous Huxley