“Little is known about why there are income disparities between the good-looking and the not-so-good-looking. …We’ve found that, even accounting for intelligence, a person’s feeling of self-worth is enhanced by how attractive they are and this, in turn, results in higher pay.” Timothy Judge, PhD.
One of the most established findings in social psychological research is that, compared to people with average looks, attractive people are considered to be more intelligent, more interesting, more creative, better leaders, better parents… in short: they are attributed a whole range of socially desirable traits. Psychologists call this the halo effect: the attractiveness of pretty people casts a ‘positive halo’ on their other characteristics.
Let’s take some dramatic examples. Most of us think of President Jack Kennedy as dynamic, youthful and energetic. In truth, he was young, and he looked his age. Consider this. During his campaign for presidency, Kennedy got votes based on the premise that after Roosevelt, Truman and Eisenhower the country needed a youthful presence and new energy. Jack Kennedy fit the bill. The simple fact is that an important factor in landing Kennedy the job was his outward appearance. Someone older or older looking would not have been viable.
The age and experience versus youth and energy dichotomy is front and center when it comes to business development. There are two schools of thought on how business people may best handle the visible signs of aging. Some believe that they are handicapped by looking older and that a youthful countenance is more preferable to clients and business development than the many years of experience that come with age. In this camp fall those of us who believe that aesthetics are a road to improving our business presence. Others believe that their experience along with their proven talent will keep them in business and that a younger look is unimportant.
There is no right or wrong answer to whether you should take the steps to look younger as one of your paths to business enhancement. But, there are facts that might help you decide what side of the debate to fall on. A recent study showed that women who opt for cosmetic options feel better about themselves. And what is well proven in many empirical studies is that those with confidence in their looks outwardly project a more positive and confident image which, in turn, is a precursor to any type of business success. When hiring someone to perform, a client wants strength and strength is associated with both beauty and confidence.
Allure Magazine surveyed 2000 people about their views on beauty. On average, those polled thought that a woman’s beauty peaks at age 30. Really? When you think about it, this comes as no surprise: gray hair on men = distinguished; gray hair on women = old. According to the magazine, “People overwhelming said they were concerned about the effects of aging. They were concerned about how it would affect their attractiveness to the opposite sex and particularly with women, how aging would affect their career. In fact, forty-two percent of women aged 50-59 years old said they felt they needed to look young to be successful at work, nearly double the number of men, but overall men and women thought that gender played a larger role in workplace discrimination than age.
There is no surefire way to develop and maintain business, to become a partner, to get on the international speaking circuit, or even to get your supervisor to recognize your talents. But, one thing is sure, if you are questioning your appearance, there are ways to improve and look more youthful. In turn, when you perceive an external improvement in yourself, you will feel more confident. That confidence will shine through. The business benefit of having some minor intervention to make a face fresher and more youthful is twofold: you do look younger and you feel more confident. Both are very positive attributes for developing and holding onto existing business.