principle-contrast-feature

The Principle of Contrast

Imagine a stunningly beautiful woman walking down the street. She has dyed blonde hair and wears a pink mini skirt with pink high heels. Now imagine you found out that this girl teaches robotics at MIT. How would this change your perception of her?

I guess she’d shoot to the top of your ‘Women I desire’ list. That’s the power of contrast in action.

Contrast coats a person in mystery. It is like a few drops of hot sauce on some chicken wings, it turns something boringly ordinary into a spicy delight.

It works hand in hand with stereotypes:

  • The simple blonde who studies applied mathematics.
  • The petite girl who is an MMA fighter in his spare time.
  • The bodybuilder who reads Nietzsche in the gym.
  • The old man who should dress like grandpa but refuses to.

principle-contrast-girl-mma

Whenever you can break out of a stereotype and present the opposite to people, you create contrast, and as a consequence, massive attraction.

Now the question is, is it fake to consciously do things to create contrast? Where is the line between still being authentic and putting on a show in order to appear more desirable?

The line is your personality. I’ll explain with an example:

A man with a huge stature and big muscles can create contrast by having a mellow, calm, non-threatening way of being. However, if the same guy is naturally loud and aggressive, then faking the nice guy will not create contrast but merely inauthenticity.

Most people already have things in their lives that would create the perfect contrast. Often, it’s only shame that’s keeping them from showing it to the world:

  • The construction worker who likes to raise roses in his own little greenhouse.
  • The school teacher who dreams of getting his full back tattooed but is worried what his colleagues will think of him.
  • The doctor who fears he looks unprofessional in a Motörhead T-shirt under his lab coat.
  • The programmer who wishes his old Nokia back but doesn’t want to be judged by his friends because he dislikes using a smartphone.

Rule of thumb: Whenever you fear judgment you have hit upon something that would create perfect contrast if you showed it openly and without shame.

But contrast is not just tied to externalities. Behavioral contrast is often even more effective.

Behavioral contrast

Imagine you’ve got tickets for a football match and bring your colleague Frank who is known to be very calm and introverted. Now picture your face after you see this guy go completely nuts in the stadium.

He chants and yells and calls the referee names you didn’t even know were part of his vocabulary. Suddenly your colleague has a mystery that spreads like wildfire in the office and at the next office Christmas party, drunk Sue is going to want to find out what quiet Frank’s secret is.

Celebrities often profit from behavioral contrast. “I would have never thought he is such a nice guy in real life”!” Sentences like that are the norm when people tell you about their encounters with the famous. Because we expect our celebs to be somehow different from us–maybe arrogant or rude from all the attention–we are delighted when they turn out to be regular human beings.

They profit from behavioral contrast without trying, but you can too!

No matter what your usual role is: Every now and then, do the complete opposite. (think Frank the Tank)

Being always the same makes you predictable and boring. Take off from the script from time to time and keep some mystery alive. Curiosity is one of the strongest aphrodisiacs.

Not all contrast is good contrast

Contrast is best applied in small dosages. Trying to change your whole way of being to display as much contrast as possible will not turn you into an attractive man but a clown begging for attention.

Trust me, you don’t need to go overboard with this. You naturally have enough quirks and weird mannerisms that can be applied perfectly to display contrast. Chances are, however, that you have to overcome some shame before you can pull it off.

Try it, let me know what happens, and in case you need some help, comment below and I’ll help you apply the principle in your individual situation.

Take care,
Julian