Although it’s crazy to think, bad hair days actually have a huge impact on our lives.
But it’s not in the way you might think.
According to “The Spotlight Effect Revisited: Overestimating the Manifest Variability of Our Actions and Appearance” by Thomas Gilovich of Cornell University, Justin Kruger University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign and Victoria Husted Medvec of Northwestern University, bad hair days contribute to social anxiety and gnawing regrets of inaction.
Here’s the down and dirty of it: The big deal with having a bad hair day isn’t that your hair magically behaves wildly one day and wrecks your life. Rather, what bothers you is that you’re afraid others will notice and that’s what impacts your life. Why? Because your concerns are exaggerated.
According to the thesis:
It’s called the “spotlight effect,” or the tendency for people to believe that their actions and appearance are more likely to be noticed, judged, and remembered by others than is actually the case (Gilovich, Medvec, & Savitsky, 2000; Gilovich & Savitsky, 1999; Savitsky, Epley, & Gilovich, in press).
In one set of studies, for example, participants who were dressed in an embarrassing T-shirt walked in on a group of people who were filling out questionnaires. When later asked to estimate how many of those present noticed their shirt, they wildly overestimated.
This means it doesn’t exactly matter if people see you looking goofy or not, but the idea that you think they do leads to your anxiety and inaction.
Now we know that dressing poorly directly impacts your work performance and people who don’t take pride in their appearance make $230,000 less in a lifetime than attractive workers and we know that it makes you feel anxious and less apt to take action so maybe it’s time to click here to work on your self-image. It just might pay off with a $230,000 raise in your lifetime and less anxiety in your life.