Stereotype Yourself

I don’t know to what extent the enthusiasm generated for Apple’s iPod spurred sales for the corporation’s other products, but probably a lot. There’s a name for this in marketing and it’s called the Halo Effect: the customer bias toward certain products because of favorable experiences with other products made by the same company.

<tangent>It was certainly true for me. From my perspective the IPod may well have been the peak of consumer technology. That was the last time a consumer tech product provided more value than the cost of life it extracted. Since the days of loving my IPod, over the years I’ve purchased two Imacs, a Macbook and three Iphones. Now, however, my enjoyment is waning. I’m holding out as long as I can with my Iphone 6S because I don’t want to get an Iphone that doesn’t have a headphone jack. And I’m bummed the magnetic charger for Macbooks was done away with.</tangent>

The Halo Effect is also a cognitive bias that’s seen when perceptions of one quality lead to biased judgments of other qualities. People who are sociable, kind, or attractive, for example, are stereotyped as also being more likable and intelligent. This is why the advice to “dress for success” works.
We can also stereotype ourselves. Besides the benefits of improved physical health, once you stick to an exercise routine, you quickly notice the other added benefit of feeling more capable. You see yourself as one who has the ability to stick to something once you’ve started. Someone who gets to the gym must also be capable of getting out of bed early or is the kind of person who responsibly carries around a planner. Basically, any effort or attention deliberately applied to something that previously went unnoticed has a Halo Effect initiating a snowball of self-respect rolling downhill.

Choosing to eat vegetarian instead of eating unthinkingly or putting limits on smartphone use has wide-ranging Halo Effects. But the benefits of the Halo Effect aren’t restricted to big life changes; even a tiny act like making your bed can have an effect on how you think of yourself, and in turn, motivate you to do more.
That’s the advice of Admiral William McRaven in his May 2014 Commencement speech at the University of Texas at Austin: “If you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another. By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter. If you can’t do the little things right, you will never do the big things right. And, if by chance you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made—that you made—and a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better. If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.”

Pick something, anything, and be deliberate about it. Feel good about yourself. Carry your newfound belief in yourself forward to the next thing.

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