I remember a few decades ago when we were much younger and were in secondary (high) school and we used to joke about only wanting to go out with guys who were Tall, Dark and Handsome or who had the three C’s –  Car, Cash and Clothes. Very unrealistic, isn’t it? Perhaps it was too much of the Mills and Boon  or Harlequin Romance novels that we were reading. Whatever it was, it was as far away as could possibly be from reality. Tall ,Dark and Handsome simply means case or packaging. It does not represent content.

As I remembered this a few days ago I began to wonder what it is that we see when we meet for the first time, someone who would turn out to be a remarkable friend, colleague or partner. Are we looking at their clothes, haircut, shoes, makeup, handbag or whatever else they have on them? We have all heard the saying ” You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” (Andrew Grant) So without doubt people do their best to make a good first impression; appear well groomed and appropriately attired depending on the scenario. And there is nothing wrong with that. There is also the saying “It’s pretty simple, pretty obvious: that people’s first impressions of people are really a big mistake.” ( Vincent D’Onofrio) This tells me that whatever you see or maybe percieve when you meet someone for the first time could never really be a correct representation of the person. And though I believe that most people like to receive neatly wrapped up packages even before they get to find out the content, the truth is that sometimes, the package is not necessarily a reflection of the content.  It could be a neatly wrapped up package with a content of no significance. See what happened to someone I know.

Samuel was a highly revered prophet in Israel.  Yet He judged incorrectly because he was more concerned about the packaging than the content itself.  “When they arrived, Samuel took one look at Eliab and thought, “Surely this is the LORD’s anointed!  But the LORD said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The LORD doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16: 6-7 NLT

How many times have we, like the prophet Samuel,  missed “it” because we were more interested in “appearances”? Is there a business venture that a friend is calling you to be a part of but you are declining because you will not be sitting behind a big desk in a corner office? Are you rejecting that young man because he came to the interview looking unkempt?  Is it the case that you declined meeting that lady because you saw a photograph of her with no makeup on? Or did you call off the date when the guy showed up to pick you up in a very old model of the most popular ride in town? These might all be valid reasons to the people who made those decisions.  But it could also be a case of throwing the baby out with the bath water. They might just be rejecting something of great potential and worth. In my country Nigeria,  there is an expression that goes “Shine your eye!” Which basically means look before you leap!

Let us therefore not be too hasty in judging and making decisions about others, career choices, business ventures,  investments or relationships. After all if you look closely enough you will discover  that what comes after the number six is much more than the number seven.