You Are What You Pretend To Be!!

DOES life always have to be about pitching? The latest self-help book, Life's A Pitch, written by advertising expert Roger Mavity and design guru Stephen Bayley, believes, you pitch all the time -- on your first job, first date and even with friends to make lasting impressions.

The book is based on the belief that our lives hinge on crucial moments when we must perform our best. Self-help guru, Robin Sharma feels that life's precious moments are about making that perfect pitch! It is strategising, creating a plan. He says, "Recently, when I was studying the symptoms of success, I realised the biggest challenge for successful people was how they pitched for themselves in troubled times. The big idea is -- setbacks are symptoms of success.

Challenges forge the greatness in you as they let you know what isn't working. They force you to be creative and hence pave the road to your NLG (Next Level of Greatness). So, the next time you face a setback, take a moment to celebrate."

The concept of 'presentation of self' as a way of understanding human behaviour goes back to the days of psychologist Erving Goffman. The idea that our lives are nothing more than how we come across, is alarming. It's about branding the individual. Self-help guru, Shiv Khera says, "I don't like the word pitching. Peddlers pitch, professionals present. Remember, you don't get a second chance to make first impressions. In this world, everyone's selling himself. Even on a date, the couple is telling each other, 'I'm worth having a relationship with'. But individuals shouldn't pretend too much."

Says industrialist Vijay Mallya, "Most powerful people in the business always pitch at every moment in life, that's why they're the most powerful brands." When individuals take their entire life as a pitch, every moment is about making them a bigger brand as their energies concentrate on it.

Says producer Anita Kaul Basu, "Since we want to be perfect at work and home, we have to pitch in our emotional lives and relationships too. So the question is: when do we get in touch with our real feelings? Do we lose the battle if we don't pitch?"

Author Stephan Bayley writes, "Pitching is about how we make first impressions. The way you sell yourself is crucial to your success. Psychologists know that first impressions are based on our spontaneous assessment of status, clothes, sex, age, size, posture, speech and facial expressions. We're locked in a game of continuous evaluation. Even the decision not to wear certain kinds of clothes betrays a set of prejudices. The person who says, 'I don't care what I wear, I just put on a T-shirt and jeans' is merely confirming how much he cares about creating a certain sort of wearily insouciant impression." So, be it clothing or talking, an individual is forever trying to pitch for himself.

The book quotes Beatrice Webb on how to build confidence for making the perfect pitch. "If ever I felt nervous when walking into a room full of people, I would tell myself 'You are the cleverest member of one of the cleverest families in the cleverest class in the cleverest nation in the world, why should you be frightened?''

Elaborating on it, actor Ayesha Dharker, adds, "While acting, we have to pitch with the right look and dialogue. Confidence does the trick. If you pitch with confidence, you win." Cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni states, "For a cricketer, making a pitch is about how you spin the ball, play with your bat and show aggression with your body language."

These days, social snobbery is also used as a weapon to make the perfect pitch. Every emotion is a weapon. We're in an age where we're designing our own personalities. Marcel Proust and Cary Grant had a lot in common, besides fastidious taste in clothes. Each knew that the most dangerous sort of plagiarism was self-plagiarism. Grant perfected a screen persona of dazzling suavity and effortless cool. Hauntingly, he once said, "Everybody wants to be Cary Grant. Even I want to be Cary Grant." But the authors of Life's a Pitch believe there are three kinds of people: the person we think we are, what other people think of us, and what we think other people think of us. But ultimately, we are what we pretend to be!

P.S. Just shamelessly copied this piece, written by Nona Walia, on the Times Life! section of Sunday Times, Calcutta edition, dated April 22, 2007. It's just that the very concept of pitching for yourself intrigued me a lot, so thought about sharing it with you too. So, do u too have anything to say on it?

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