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Who are you trying to impress?

The initial phases of a relationship are always driven by the need to impress the other. We try to impress the one we meet on a first date. We try to impress the interviewer during a job interview. We try to impress the casting director during an audition. We try to impress the users in the hope of attracting them to our product. We try to impress investors in order to raise funding.

There are definitely times when we need to impress other people. It could be because they have a short window to make a decision, or because we want to be picked very badly. And there are a lot of other times when there is no need and we still do it.

The act of impressing someone isn't in itself good or bad. To impress is to make an impression in a good way. And there are two ways of doing it.

One is by going out of our way to posture and portray things that may not necessarily be there. We do this because we feel obligated to. It feels like the safe thing to do. And if we fail, we can console ourselves by saying that we did our best.

This has a downside. And that is in the fact that we can't keep posturing and pretending forever. We will revert back to our default at some point. And when we do, we are letting the other person down. We are letting them down by drawing their attention with a promise that we know we cannot continue to deliver on.

And the relationship sours.

The other way is the opposite. It is to impress by consequence. It is by behaving in a way whose sole purpose is not to impress another.

The other way is authenticity.

When you are clear on what you want to do and why you want to do it, you will naturally be more authentic. Because, now there is nobody but you to impress.

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