Appearances - 外觀 - Wàiguān
People are puzzles.
Some appear fierce,
but possess mild manners.
Others seem timid,
but strike out viciously.
Look beyond mere appearance-
Position yourself towards advantage.
~inspired by Deng Ming-Dao
All armies prefer high ground to low, and sunny places to dark. ~Sun Tzu
Without experience, it is easy to be fooled by appearances. A large man speaks loudly, so we instantly judge him crass or belligerent. He may later turn out to be quite kind and generous. If we approach him too defensively, we may never see these positive traits. On the other hand, when we notice a petite, quiet woman in our midst, we may allow our guard to fall, becoming complacent. If she turns out to be a treacherous person, our laxity contributed to our victimization.
Sometimes people are exactly as they appear. Other times, they are merely using camouflage. ~Deng
Humans, like animals, use different strategies for survival. Coloring, movement, scent, and sound are all used in the animal kingdom as means of deception, to draw prey in or to frighten predators away. Humans are no different. A man may promise a great many things and never come through. A woman may proclaim lifelong love and affection while sleeping around. Even if this man or woman disappears from your life, never to return, you will not be without their presence. The wounds caused from misplaced trust are often the hardest to heal.
Learn to discern the personalities of others from the facades which they project. See beyond the mask they wear.
Position yourself advantageously at all times. Use experience to dispel the trickery others utilize. By doing this, you can find the right way to cope with appearances.