Beauty and success: Does looking good serve a purpose?

It's a jungle out there, but beauty might help you succeed. Give us a smile love!

It’s a jungle out there, but beauty might help you succeed. Give us a smile love!

We are constantly pressured to look beautiful. Everyone agrees that judging others by their looks is shallow, but unfortunately the world we live in and our evolutionary make-up, favours err well, make-up. Beauty and image help us to achieve our goals on a practical level, but ultimately developing our inner selves should be our main goal.

Make-up attracts men

Research shows that women who wear make-up are more likely to be approached by men in a bar and also positive facial expressions such as smiling, make us more attractive to the opposite sex.

Beautiful people are more likely to get jobs

In a Newsweek survey of 202 corporate hiring managers, 57% said that unattractive candidates are likely to have a harder time landing a job and while more than half advised spending as much time and money on “making sure they look attractive” as on perfecting a résumé.

I personally often struggle with the idea of making myself beautiful for others. For one, it takes a lot of effort and at least another 20 minutes of the time I could spend in bed in the morning. It also feels like succumbing to social pressure and the rebellious part of me wants to resist this. I want to say I don’t care what I look like. Surely what’s inside is more important than what’s outside?

While this may be true, we can’t escape the society we live in and where we need to survive socially and professionally. It’s ironic but being beautiful outside, will attract others to us and make them want to get to know us better on the inside.

“People do judge a book by its cover…but a beautiful cover prompts a closer reading.”

Today, you need to think of yourself as a brand and your looks contribute to how your brand is perceived, and when you look good you also become more confident.

Beauty before brains?

Luckily not! When it comes to dating, research has shown that in modern societies, men place a greater emphasis on finding a partner that is intelligent, while those in more traditional societies still place more value on beauty and cooking skills when looking for a wife.

The other side of the coin is that as women and men became more equal in their earning power, women are now more likely to prioritise looks over money when assessing a partner, because they are now less dependent on men to secure them financially.  

We are hard wired from an evolutionary perspective to prefer beautiful people, even babies prefer to look at beautiful people. Physically our beauty is linked to our hormones, which are linked (like everything else it seems) to reproduction.

Beauty comes from within

Ultimately, I believe and everyone knows that beauty comes from within. It’s the personality, chemistry, charisma, the mind and spirit that a person radiates, which makes them beautiful to us. But physical beauty and presentation is still obviously a bonus.

Your image as a practical tool to achieve your goals

Simply put, to achieve results in this society, it is important to present the best image of yourself from both inside and out. Even if you don’t believe that your physical image is important in the grand scheme of things, it will help you to achieve your goals on a practical level if you look the part.

What’s important to remember though is that while beauty and image are tools to get what we want and increase our confidence, what’s inside – our personality, actions and our soul are the things that we should really be working to perfect. In the end physical form won’t last forever, but the positive actions we take and the work we do on our inner selves, no one can ever take away from us.

“Your physical attributes, like your body, are merely borrowed. Do not set your heart on them, for they are transient and only last for an hour. Your spirit by contrast is eternal: your body is on this earth, like a lamp, but its light comes from that everlasting Source above.” (Rumi, Masnavi IV: 1840 – 2)

What do you think, should we make the effort to look good? Or should we just not care about what others think?

About Maia

My name is Maia, I live in London, UK, and I originally come from the Czech Republic. Maia's World is my blog where I write about life in general, personal development, and about ideas, beliefs and discoveries on how to live a fuller life.
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7 Responses to Beauty and success: Does looking good serve a purpose?

  1. Storysoother says:

    I like your blog posting. It is definitely a very charged topic.
    One thing I would like to comment on is the societal/temporal definition of beauty. Yes, there are certain “beauty traits” that are programmed in us on neurobiological level yet even those are not attractive across societies or even within the same society but different times. For example, someone who is considered beautiful by a typical Westerner would be perceived completely different by a Bushman of Kalahari. Or a beauty of 1920’s (pale white skin, small breasts, larger hips) would not be considered beautiful in the past 20-30 years.
    That said, I do agree with you that, as much as we desire it to be differently, physical beauty is a very important part of the decision making process for most of us. It is also my opinion that we give preference to people who we define as being beautiful. Actually, to generalize it, we naturally give preference to beautiful “objects” overall, not just humans. Most luxury brands are completely based on this idea – an object that can be viewed as beautiful will often be perceived of higher value (and therefore cost) than the one that is more “plain”.
    S to answer your question, in our society, unless one is talented, has a specific “angle”, or already connected, it makes sense to make an effort to look good in order to achieve results. Of course, physical beauty will take you only so far – if there is no substance beyond physical, it gets very mundane and not effective in the long run.
    Thank you for posting it and getting me to think. 🙂

    • Maia says:

      Hi, yes you’re right physical beauty and the image you present is not enough in itself. But if you have two people that are exactly the same, same skills, same experience, same personality, etc and one is more beautiful than the other, then the more beautiful one gets chosen. Even cross culturally I think people know a beautiful face when they see one. I’m glad you liked the post 🙂

  2. Great blog! For sciences take on how to look more attractive take a look at our post. has a tip that is proven by science, and you don’t have to change anything about yourself!

  3. Very apropos topic in today’s world. I agree in principle with what you’re saying, although I think there is more to be said about some of the theories you listed. One was “…being beautiful outside will attract others to us and make them want to get to know us better on the inside.” I think shallow people are more apt to notice our appearance at the expense of our inner selves, and they will continue to focus on the appearance even after they know us. Likewise, those who look at the bigger picture — at the whole person — are not going to be more apt to notice our appearance than what’s inside. So, it seems that those who are in the middle of the road are those you’re describing, although it may be something like a third of the people.

    Also, a study which says women wearing make-up are more likely to be approached by men in a bar speaks to the shallowness issue, and possibly represents around a third of society. I don’t think that’s a good yardstick to go by. And the built-in bias of bars is that people are looking for action in bars (more so than elsewhere), and so they are heavily keyed in on the physical. They’re not too interested in lots of conversation or getting to know one another. So that could actually be an example of a short-term approach to relationships, which again isn’t a good gauge.

    Personally, I’m not that wild about make-up. A little is OK, but I still don’t think it’s necessary. From my perspective, make-up looks fake, and it sends a message to me that the woman isn’t confident enough in her own appearance to let people see what she really looks like. It also makes we wonder, “What’s she hiding?” I’ll probably never understand why so many women are averse to eyebrows. I think real eyebrows look good, even if they look thick. Painted on eyebrows make me think of a mannequin. Who knows, maybe I was traumatized by some movie in my childhood. 🙂 Anyway, I’m the type of person that goes for the natural look. No frills. Just being who you are. And if society isn’t accepting of that, then as a woman, maybe she’s less apt to get that good job or that promotion, but then consider also that she didn’t have to compromise to reach for her goals. If we’re trying to appease the shallow people, then we may win their admiration, but at what cost?

    Good post, Maia. And I certainly do agree that a smile does a lot for a person’s appearance. Much more than make-up does.

    • Maia says:

      Hi Rusty, thanks for the comment 🙂 It’s good to see a guy who doesn’t care if a woman wears make up or not. And you’re right that in bars it’s the physical factor that attracts people rather than getting to know someone, but then again a lot of people that meet in a bar end up being in a serious relationship together later.
      I know what you mean about too much make up, sometimes girls look too artificial.
      I don’t wear much make up, unless I go out, that’s partly down to being comfortable and partly because as you say, I think that people who you are really meant to connect with won’t care if you wear make up or not.
      Although in certain social and work environments there is still a lot of pressure to dress a certain way, in order to respect social rules of conduct. This I resent, but more often than not I conform, just to avoid feeling uncomfortable. I wish I didn’t care, but I still do!
      BTW my blog has now moved to Hope to see you there 🙂

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