In our society we all must behave in a certain way, a list of unwritten rules is always in play about the way we “should” act, falling outside of the acceptable norm and we are labeled as weird or even rude. Also we will review a short story from two different angles that is about the same man but stand in stark contrast to one another. The protagonist in this story is a man named John. As the day went on at work and it became necessary John went to the store to buy stationary. Just the simple act of getting up and going out demonstrates that John had an interest in his job and wanted to get it done.
Along the way John took every opportunity to enjoy the day, and interact with people he knew. John made sure that he was walking on the sunny side of the street and any passerby could see that John was a very content and self-assured individual. Even as John made his way into store he kept a positive and friendly attitude, so much so that when he saw a familiar face he made time to stop and say hello. Immediately leaving the store he met another acquaintance and didn’t miss the chance to exchange pleasantries, and after this he returned to work.
John was exuding such a positive vibration that people who knew him couldn’t help but want to be around a person like him. John was displaying an incredible attitude, and everything was pointing towards John being completely “normal”. Even in the Bible it’s Paul phrasing of “putting on the armor of God” that tells us it’s a choice. It’s a decision that we make at any given time about how we must act on our own situation, because if we don’t act then all we have left to do is re-act and when that is the only option we are truly powerless.
As I said before, the first impression that people form of us is most of the time the one that sticks to us, and none of us get a second chance to make that lasting impression again. On the other side of the spectrum, in the other short story we see John in a very different light. First of all he decided to wait until after work to go and get what he needed, a very good example of a person who isn’t very involved with his work. If he is involved in his work it’s only the bare minimum.
While walking to the store John made every attempt to stay where he couldn’t be seen, and when he noticed someone he knew he made the decision to cross the street and stay away from any kind of contact whatsoever. After a little bit more antisocial bravado John decided to go home and hide until tomorrow. These are stories about the same man, trying to accomplish the same task and the two stories don’t sound like the same man at all. In the second telling of the same story John seemed like a scared child or some other equally vulnerable little victim.
Now people that saw him were looking at a completely different individual, one that could only re-act to his life instead of acting on the world. This is a perfect example of how important first impressions are, and why it’s so important to leave people with a lasting impression of the kind of person we really are. I’ve been told that you never know what kind of person someone is until after you see them when they think no one is looking.
After the first story I felt like John had the world by the horns, and knew what he needed to do so he could excel and lead any pack he was in. After reading the second story John’s image to me was that of a complete coward, and the kind of person who went through his life dealing with what was given to him. The kind of person that is so used to being told what to do and with absolutely no back bone. The second John was a man that had some kind of vested interest in being the weaker of the species.
If I were to reverse the stories and read the second one first, I don’t think that things would look any better for John. My mind would have been made up, I would have just thought “he’s still a wuss”. Like I said, first impressions. No do overs. His stock was already low and that’s why I feel it’s very important to instill in people when they’re young that they have self-worth. Because once you have it you don’t look for reassurance in anyone else, and no one can take it from you because you earned it for yourself from yourself.