Wisdom Wednesday: Mustache Paradigm Experiment

I have a theory. That theory is based on the ability to change one’s paradigm without the direct knowledge of external contributors. Meaning, can a subject change one’s view of them without that person or persons noticing? It is my goal to prove that is totally possible.

It was the perfect opportunity to conduct this experiment because I desperately needed to change my outlook on life, my priorities, how I treat people, how I treat myself and really define my purpose and what success means to me.

I believe, not because people are vain, but because people believe what they see, that a simple extrinsic physical shift or change and completely and wholly mask an intrinsic change. Meaning, while someone may notice a difference in you, all you need is a new haircut and a mustache and people will chock up that change to those physical aspects. Have you ever done something to really change the type of person you are, not your appearance but your personality? Have you started smiling more, acting with more empathy and consideration, started frowning more, were verbally abusive and standoffish? Did you receive a common reaction from someone, “you changed; there is something different about you, did you get a new haircut, have you lost/gained weight?”

One of the things I find most interesting about psychology is that the information needed to know better how people think is all right in front of you. With a little education one can develop theories and prove or disprove them in their daily life. It’s awesome; if you couldn’t tell, I’m kind of in love with it. I am still on that road to enlightenment. So, this is one of many experiments I can conduct from personal study to gain a better knowledge of psychology and self-awareness.

Last year, over the course of several months, I methodically changed specific and noticeable aspects of my appearance, while simultaneously changing specific and noticeable aspects of my persona. Again, this was a simple experiment, but with undeniable results. I should be encouraged to conduct a similar experiment with multiple subjects other than myself and with more variables over a longer period of time.

I grew my hair long and made it a point to smile as infrequently as possible. My goal was not to be mean, but to be stern or cold. I questioned a random sampling of friends and coworkers on their opinion of my new hairstyle. The response was overwhelmingly negative.

My next step was to keep the long hair and grow a mustache. While doing this, I started smiling more. When I questioned a random sampling of coworkers about what they thought of the mustache, the response was a compilation of various and resounding compliments on my appearance-not only for the mustache but a recant of their previous thoughts on the longer hair to even say that my hair looked better paired with the mustache.

Not only that, but when I did not smile with my new appearance, people were more inclined to approach me with concern. My personality shift was slight but powerful because it was paired with another visible and unchanging appearance trait. People related my long hair with a stoic version of me. They related my mustache, and by association my still long hair, with a friendlier version of me.

Thanks for reading. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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