According to Forbes, a global media company, we and our businesses have seven seconds to form a first impression. Similar thoughts apply to job or scholarship applications and submissions to book agents. Acceptance or rejection happens in seconds. Reputation, on the other hand, takes far more time. For example, hiring can happen readily, but it could take a long time to prove enough substandard work ethics to get fired. Some people think money is everything. Other folks believe nothing is more critical to success and happiness than reputation. What do you think?
Merriam Webster defines reputation, a noun, as an overall quality or character seen or judged by people in general.
People, businesses, and things have a reputation. Even my neighbor’s dog has one. I just bought a hand sander, and my choice depended on reviews of various power tool brands. The same applies to cars and dealerships, tractor colors, salad dressings, rose bushes, fast food, hairdressers, banks, TV stations, government employees, math teachers, doctors, etc. Reputation is big.
Reputation is a nebulous sort of thing. What you think of yourself probably isn’t close to what he, she, or they think of you. Reputation is subjective, depending on how others experience you in life. It depends on your history with each person; one might want to dig a hole and toss you in, and another honored to be in your company.
A solid reputation, one consistent across time, is the real test. Reputation is not just an indicator of performance, but character. You could have noble thoughts, but people form their opinion from your choice of words and behavior. You can’t buy, borrow, or steal a reputation. What you earn is yours alone.
What is your self-reputation worth? In my opinion, it has more worth than your public reputation. Both drive success or failure in business, friendship, and employment, but it is defeating to steer life according to what others think of you instead of how you view yourself, as you cannot control what others think.
Self and public reputation are valuable to mental wellness, but what you think of yourselves wins the race. Suppose you rate your happiness on other’s opinions. Confusion and disappointment are likely results. Similarly, if you leave yourselves at the doorstep and turn into what you perceive others want you to be, you might gain kudos from critics but damage your self-esteem and respect—your self-reputation.
The goal is to have the two connected. If your self-reputation somewhat matches your public-reputation, you can give yourselves an “A” in the mental health category.
Closing with a quote from Socrates: “The way to gain a good reputation is to endeavor to be what you desire to appear.”
Until the next time: Live while you live.
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