A few months ago, I made a big decision. I sold my house and became homeless.
This was a huge change in the entire direction of my life — a good change! But it had some unexpected consequences.
Obviously, I couldn’t bring all my stuff with me. I kept only what I could fit in my carry on and briefcase. One of the things I couldn’t take with me? My glasses.
Don’t worry. I wear contacts most of the time, so it wasn’t like I needed my glasses. I did need my sunglasses, though. They are prescription sunglasses, so I don’t have to put in my contacts when I wear them.
My sunglasses are important to me. I do a lot of travelling and sleeping on airplanes. Since I can’t stand eye masks, I use my sunglasses to keep things shady while I snooze.
But here’s the thing. I tend to get a little lazy with my contacts. To save time and effort, I’d rather not put them in sometimes. Remember, I don’t have any glasses, so what do I reach for?
Yep, my prescription sunglasses.
Even at night!
Thankfully, my sunglasses aren’t too dark. I don’t have a problem seeing at night, even while wearing my sunglasses. The bottom part of the sunglasses are hardly tinted at all, so there’s plenty of seeing going on.
I’ve actually become accustomed to wearing sunglasses at night.
It all started, not because I was trying to be cool, but because I was lazy. Thankfully, I’ve learned not to care a whole lot about what people think about me. I do things, sometimes crazy things, for the sake of comfort or efficiency. People can create their own opinions about me.
When you’re on the road for months at a time like I am, you do what you have to do. My contacts and contacts solution are cumbersome enough. I’d rather not have to carry around two pairs of glasses.
So it’s pretty simple, really. That’s why I wear sunglasses at night.
When I started doing this a few months ago, several unexpected things happened. Funny enough, I started getting into more conversations, making more deals, and meeting more people.
When I thought about it (and asked some of my friends), it seemed to come back to the sunglasses! You see, I was wearing my sunglasses a lot more often. I would wear them in the morning after I woke up, in the evening after I took my contacts, and sometimes all day (even cloudy days), because I got tired of wearing my contacts.
Wearing sunglasses changed how people perceived me. Then, those perceptions changed how people interacted with me.
You know how bodyguards and security people often wear sunglasses?
It’s not just because of the sun. Apparently, they wear sunglasses to keep potential attackers unaware of where they are looking.
Celebrities also tend to wear sunglasses more than seems necessary, like inside.
Some of these people, like Bono, have an eye condition (like glaucoma).
But others? It’s a mystery.
And these guys? I have no idea.
Somehow, sunglasses change the way that people see us and interact to us. This was definitely true for me! Here’s what I learned as a result of my lazy sunglasses habit.
The sunglasses created a sense of mystery about me.
I noticed that when I wore my sunglasses, people would ask me “So, who are you anyway?” A more common question I get is, “What do you do?” I don’t know why, but the sunglasses create a sense of mystery, which produces curiosity.
I’m not trying to make myself a mystery. I’m kind of a tell-all guy. Apparently, though, when you do have a sense of mystery, it makes more people curious about you. People tend to approach you, ask about you, and try to find out more about you.
As an entrepreneur, I realize that this can be a good thing.
More people come up to me and talk to me.
Even when I’m tired, jet-lagged, and wearing my sunglasses, I found that more people come up to me compared to when I’m not wearing my sunglasses.
I would assume that someone wearing sunglasses might be trying to avoid having to talk to other people. What ends up happening is that I meet more people.
On average, when I spend an hour at a mixer, I have anywhere from 9-13 conversations. When I wear sunglasses, for some weird reason, more people come up to me to introduce themselves. I usually have anywhere from 12 to 17 conversations with sunglasses, compared to 9-13 without. (Yes, I count the number of connections that I make at mixers and networking events.)
What’s more interesting is that more people ask to take pictures with me when I’m wearing my shades.
On average, in an hour of networking, anywhere from 7-10 people request a picture. With sunglasses, I get 11-13 pictures per hour!
When people take these pictures, they end up tagging me on Facebook or Instagram, which provides more free brand awareness.
Usually, though, I’ll try to drop the sunglasses for the photo.
Most people don’t ask me why I’m wearing sunglasses. Maybe they're too shy, or don’t want to pry, or whatever. But they do ask to take pictures with me, and I’m okay with that.
I earn more business.
Apparently, all this intrigue and meeting people has a business benefit!
I was attending an evening networking event in Las Vegas, and yes, wearing my sunglasses. One gentleman came up to me and said, “Hey I just wanted to say hi. And I gotta say, I love the glasses!”
As it turns out, he owned one of the largest uniform companies in the United States. His business provided custom uniform design and manufacturing for the hospitality and service industry in Las Vegas. He owned overseas factories that produced the uniforms. Next thing you know, I’m closing a business deal with him for $360,000!
I had another instance where someone hit me up, and was like, “Neil, you’re amazing. I love the glasses. I’ve got to get a picture with you because you look so cool.”
I laughed out loud! I don’t think I’m cool. I’m a nerd, and I don’t mind it. The guy took a picture with me, and asked, “Where’d you get the glasses?”
“Oh, I bought them at Ilori, a shop in Las Vegas.”
“Cool, what kind are they?”
“They’re called Chrome Hearts.”
We started a conversation based on my sunglasses. It was random, but he owns a Facebook advertising agency. We swapped Facebook marketing war stories, and then he let me in one one of his Facebook video marketing techniques that was killing it. He explained how I could implement the technique with my clients.
The next day, I did what he told me to do, and within two days (it took a while to kick in) I earned one of my clients $600 more per day from their Facebook campaigns!
Sometimes, it’s the random things in life that produce the most surprising benefits.
For me, it was sunglasses.
Like I mentioned, I would think that wearing sunglasses would be a turnoff — that people would steer clear of the dude in shades!
Apparently not! I decided to dig in and do some research. I don’t have a stack of double-blind placebo peer reviewed studies, but science suggests that mystery and intrigue increase a person’s attractiveness. Sunglasses can improve the appearance of facial symmetry, which can increase attractiveness.
The conclusion is obvious. I guess I’m more approachable in sunglasses, because I’m less scary.
Or something like that.
Either way, I’ll probably keep wearing them, because it’s just so darn easy.