All that glitters is not gold

What we see might not be the same as what it looks like. Why do we assume that all that glitters is gold? It may turn out to be just sparkles, glass, mirror or it may turn out to be diamond! You never know, until you really know.

We carry with us our perceptions, our past experiences, our bias, and are ready to pass judgment on people, circumstances, events just by looking at a person and the way they dress. “She is so well dressed, and it looks expensive. I am sure she’s wealthy”. “Look at his clothes, I don’t think he can afford anything.” And it’s not just the quality of the clothes that we judge on but the type of clothes they wear. Wearing traditional clothes makes a person old fashioned and wearing western clothes make them trendy. Why do we get biased based on the external appearances of people?

Narayan was the CEO of a multinational company. And he had a simple taste in clothes. He did not believe in wearing branded clothes. He only wore what he felt comfortable in. Once he was invited for a talk in one of the top colleges in his city. He also took his personal assistant with him. The personal assistant was well dressed. When they reached the college and were walking towards the auditorium, the student who was supposed to give the flower bouquet to Narayan, did not even look at him and went straight to the personal assistant and handed him the bouquet. The college faculty were embarrassed and thankfully they had an additional spare bouquet which they gave it to Narayan. But they were left red faced.

Ramya got the admission in one of the top colleges in Bengaluru. She had chosen the college for its academic excellence. But she had also heard all kinds of rumors about the college that some of them used substance and she had decided that she will have nothing to do with it. On the first day of her college, as she was checking the details and was confused about where to go, one girl approached her and asked her if she needed help. The girl had a nose ring, tattoo on her arms and was wearing a skirt and a top with a deep neckline. As soon as Ramya saw her, she decided that this girl used substance and without even responding to her she moved away and started speaking to another girl who looked “decent” as per Ramya. But the girl looked confused, was not able to understand what Ramya was saying and after a couple of minutes Ramya noticed that she was not in her senses.

The student who gave the bouquet to the personal assistant instead of Narayan had a preconceived notion that the guest who is coming for the talk would be dressed in a certain way. And the student had not made any research or asked anyone about who the guest was before handing over the bouquet.

Ramya was biased and had her own imagination about people who used substance. She always imagined them to be with tattoos and nose rings and when Disha, the college topper and the head girl had approached her if she needed help, Ramya not only assumed but was very sure that she used substance.

Photo by Johannes Plenio on

Though we know a whole lot of sayings, proverbs which says, “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover”, “Looks can be deceptive”, “Things are not always as they seem”, we always create a picture of how people in different positions, people with different habits, should look like.

How often have you come across people who has judged you based on your external appearance? Or are you one of them?

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