Persona – Friend or Foe (Part 1)
By David K. Devaney SgtMaj USMC Retired
“John is an ambiguous man;” maybe, but likely NOT. Almost all humans have a persona or many – my guess is multiple for most people.
Persona is sometimes referred to as a social “facade” or the aspect of an individual’s character to be presented to or perceived by others; the personality you project in public – your image. Persona is Latin for a “theatrical mask” worn by an actor. Once the actor put on the mask he or she became whatever the mask depicted; a dragon, a woman, a man, etc. In everyday terms a persona is the mask we wear in front of our friends, family, strangers, etc.
Example: I have noticed many tough guy Marines have a different voice (tone) for their wife than their friends. Using that same Marine I will continue:
Persona 1: To parents and family (mature, provider, warrior, tough guy…..)
Persona 2: To wife and children (sweet, loving, caring, protector of all……..)
Persona 3: Friends back home (wild Marine on the loose)
Persona 4: Fellow Marines (tough guy, leader, warrior………..)
So why is this important? It is important to know that we all likely have multiple personas and it is absolutely normal. BUT, for instance, the “wild Marine on the loose” with his friends has a good chance of making terrible mistakes; trying to show just how crazy and wild he is. Next thing you know he is in jail, dead or dying; life destroyed by a persona out of control.
Rule your personas; do not let them rule you.
Persona – Friend or Foe (Part 2)
Reminder: Persona is sometimes referred to as a social “facade” or the aspect of an individual’s character to be presented to or perceived by others; the personality you project in public or your image.
Do Not Judge a Book by its Cover; WHY NOT?
When I visit a bookstore I am usually just looking around and if a “book cover” catches my eye I will take a better look at the book. If a book’s cover photo shows two people kissing I will assume it is a romance novel and if it has a fire truck I will assume it is about firefighter or fire. If those genres are among the book types I like to read I will further investigate and I should be able to determine if this is a book I will enjoy. If I like what I see and read I will buy the book.
Every person goes through these same processes everyday when they are prejudging others; as we all do – everyone prejudges.
Our personal or “book cover” is our clothing – the way we dress. This has much to do with our personas and obviously will change depending on where we are going, where we are at, whom we are with, etc. When I see a couple in Costco in workout gear, I assume (prejudge) they just left the gym and needed a few items. Or they just want to be comfortable. Or they want everyone around them to know that they workout; etc.
The most ridiculous statement I hear – all the time: “You should not judge him or her by the way they dress.” WHY NOT????
If you are wearing a police uniform I will assume you are a police officer. If you are wearing scrubs I will assume you are in the health care industry. If you wear a NY Yankees baseball hat I will assume you are a NYY fan.
If you and all your friends have shaved heads, swastika tattoos on your head and neck, and a projected attitude I will assume you are a Nazi skinhead and I will avoid you. But, if you and your friends confront me I will have to defend myself, with fury, because of my preconceived notions of you as a threat. The reality is, I have never interacted with skinheads, so all I know is what the news media and Hollywood have taught me. Skinhead equals threat; or at least that is what their personas’ are trying to project. They believe that if they project an outward toughness they are protected.
If you and all your friends are dressed as “ganstas” I will assume you are a threat and I will avoid you; but, if you and your friends confront me I will have to defend myself, with fury, because of me preconceived notions of you as a threat. The reality is, I have never interacted with “ganstas” so all I know is what the news media, Hollywood, and the show ‘Cops” have taught me. “Ganstas” equals threat; or at least that is what their personas’ are trying to project. They believe that if they project an outward toughness they are protected.
Obviously I could go on with a plethora of other examples.
Rule your personas; do not let them rule you.
Think about that…………
[amazon_link asins=’1612517897′ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’spoup-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’7dd43b24-3896-11e7-8b2f-bb97d3bb4b04′]