What Matters to You: ‘X’ Factor or ‘Stay’ Factor?


We all live in a world where first impression matters the most…After all, we all lead busy, non stop lives where we come across so many individuals on day-to-day basis…People who have pleasant faces, dress appropriately, talk assertively leaving everyone around them mesmerized or simply making a statement where they appear away from ordinary or bohemian… These are the people who we remember or give a ‘second look’ to…all thanks to the first impression…popularly known as  ‘X’ factor….

A research done by Janine Willis and Alexander Todorov of Princeton university concludes that it takes 100 millisecond of exposure time to form on opinion about someone we come across. The research asked the participants to judge random people’s pictures on 5 parameters (attractiveness, likeability, trustworthiness, competence, and aggressiveness) and concluded that if we increase the exposure (from 100 millisecond to 500/1000 millisecond) of these pictures, some of the judgement made earlier were strengthened.  The research concluded with a statement – however, increased exposure time led to more differentiated person impressions.

Impressions don’t last forever, but they last long…That’s how we form relationships – On first impressions. But can they be sustained on X factor alone? I believe – No. You need much more than just X factor – a ‘Stay’ factor  – which goes beyond X factor and comprised of all the parameters which are necessary to sustain and grow a relationship. While X factor is known in milliseconds, Stay factor requires honest effort to know a person. So, X factor is peripheral and concerned about physical appearances, Stay factor is more about heart and soul and can only be known via more interactions.

In reality, we are too smitten by the X factor that by the time we realize its not working out, its too late to concentrate on Stay factor. People see the sheen only and forget what lies beneath. Reasons to do that can be many – personal achievement or ego boost, social status, peer pressure or simply a prejudiced, hollow thought process, where stereotypes rule! We all fall prey and get attracted to people with X factor…others, we simply give them a miss!! (That is why some people prefer socializing on internet, as they are not judged by appearances but by stuff they have inside)

X factor is good support for judgement, but it should not be taken as  ‘end-all, be-all’ for forming an opinion about someone. But, things that X factor comprises (read looks), play so much on our mind, that we forget the rest and our opinions are already positive about that person. We try to perceive actions of that person only through one angle – X factor. We ignore few important things in the process such as attitude and basic nature of the person, the very foundation of a person. ‘Taken for granted’ is the biggest by product of relationships sustained on just X factor. It takes time to let the effect sink in, and when it does we eject ourselves. All ready for an Encore….

However, the sooner you transition from X factor to Stay factor, better for you and the relationship. Try and work on weak areas while strengthening the strong and compatible ones. Now that you have put foot in the door, its time to make a good, solid foundation for your relationship. How do we achieve all this? Talk, meet, hangout, enjoy, have good/bad time and then talk some more…

X factor is completely in line with principles of Natural Selection, so its beyond our control. We ought to get attracted to people who possess it. period. But, look around, people with whom you are with for many many years, did they exhibit X factor the first time they met you? or did you give them ample time to strike a chord and made an effort to understand each other? Relationship that you sustain over long period of time have the solid foundation of Stay factor. You want them to Stay. In the bargain, you are ready to make amends and adjustments necessary.  If you have done all this,  you have realized the power and significance of Stay factor!!

For the sake of recessionary world economy,  Its not bad though, chasing/developing X factor… it saves time!!

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