Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, Who’s the Fairest of Them All?

How important is physical attractiveness to success?  Are there areas of our lives where it is more important than others?  These are all legitimate questions, whose answers may help us to explain or at least rationalize some of our past successes and failures.

Perhaps we must first define physical attractiveness.  Dr. Slupchynskyj explains that beauty indeed can be quantified and clearly defined by what is known as the “Golden Ratio”.  This ratio signifies mathematical proportions that are considered most pleasing to the human eye.  Far from being an arbitrary number of 1.618, we see these proportions reflected everywhere in nature and art, from the number of leaves on a tree or petals on a flower to the dimensions of an awe inspiring and iconic face like that of the Mona Lisa.

But does this actually affect our opinions of who we consider beautiful in everyday life?   An Oral Maxillofacial Surgeon who extensively studied this ratio,  found that the features corresponding to icons of female beauty truly crossed historical, racial and cultural barriers, all while exhibiting proportions at or near this ratio.

So if we have established a universally accepted definition of beauty, the question remains of its influence on success in different areas of our lives.  We surmise that a concept capable of inspiring a multi-billion dollar beauty and fashion industry as well as a thriving cosmetic, surgical medical industry must be influencing the direction of our lives to some extent.  Why else would we spend so much precious time and money improving and maintaining our looks to meet predetermined standards?

The Economist reported that it does in fact hold great deal of influence over financial earnings in a person’s lifetime.  Citing studies by Daniel Hamermesh of the University of Texas that all other things being equal, ugly people earn less than beautiful people. Surprisingly, the penalty for being “ugly” was steeper for men than it was for women, at -9% versus -6% .  Similarly, there were financial premiums associated with being beautiful and once again they were higher for men than they were for women at 5% versus 4%. (http://www.economist.com/node/10311266)

Another area where we would expect physical beauty to hold a great deal of influence over success would be in our romantic relationships.  According to OK Cupid, what we imagine to be true is a reality.  Although men rate the marjority of women as being “moderately” attractive on an on-line dating site they see to all compete the hardest for those at the “beautiful” end of the scale.  A woman rated as “modelesque” by male OK cupid users recieves about 5 times as many messages as an “average” looking woman and about 28 times as many messages as a women considered to be “unattractive”. Conversely women were much tougher on men in regards to rating their looks, reporting almost 80% of men to be “less than average” in terms of physical attractiveness. Take it easy ladies!

So at the end of the day what does all of this mean?  Can we learn anything from these statistics to help us in our everyday lives?  We are who we are… right? Realistically, there are only so many changes we can make to the way we were born to look.  However, taking care of ourselves through maintaining a good diet and regular exercise can help us to optimize our looks and confidence.

 If you are comfortable with cosmetics and other enhancing products, it doesn’t hurt to give them a try to see what they might do to help you project a desirable image to the world.  Additionally, if there is a part of you that bothers you so much that you cannot get past it and it seems as if it is creeping into all aspects of your life you can also explore Non-Invasive and Surgical, Cosmetic interventions.  If you want to explore this route, be sure to research your doctor and choose someone who is Board Certified in their specialty.