I was growing up a few decades back (something that I am still working on), I pretty much loved reading newspapers (something that I have weaned myself off completely). I was either in primary school or in High School…I cannot remember.
However, I came across a story in the papers about an American Millionaire who had set himself on a course to tour the whole world. In my mind, he was a great person and had accomplished quite a bit. I must have admired him and at the same time wondered if I would ever get that reputation one day.
What You See is Not What you get at times
It seemed as if the local dailies were following his story as it unfolds, so we were pretty much updated on what was going on in that man’s life. One day though, I will never forget what happened to that man’s reputation at least in my heart. I lost respect for him in an instant, and I will explain to you why in a moment.
A good reputation has we have already established is one of the greatest currencies you can have in life. Reputation breeds trust, something upon which many transactions in the world hinge. There is something in the money and stock markets called “sentiment”.
Sentiment and Reputation
Sentiment is a market force that is dictated by how people feel about a stock. In other words, whenever a stock is trusted to be highly prospective, many people buy it. The contrary is also true. That is why companies guard the reputation of their commodities with so much fierceness.
Your reputation as in individual also ought to be guarded thus. We saw in the previous article that your reputation can either be soiled by yourself or by a “hater”. At times, when a hater maliciously soils your reputation, when it is recovered, you can even thank them for it. People in marketing circles will tell you that publicity is publicity, whether it is good or bad.
Placard for a Wife
There is a Kenyan male crooner who alleges to be born again. Of the recent past, he has been publicly shopping for a wife. He does this by printing a huge placard where his image is immortalized. Alongside that image, “Ringtone Apoko” as his stage name is outlines the qualities that he is looking for in a woman.
There is no doubt that he is getting his fair share of “negative publicity”. His reputation is getting soiled by the day. Some people are going as far as saying that he is mentally unstable. Well, I bring up his story to tell you that its effect or impact is the same as that of the American Millionaire I was talking about.
If your focus is only on yourself...
Both these people have the same trait that make them lose their reputation in an instant. It is simply one word. This American Millionaire when interviewed emphatically stated that he will “Never” share his “wealth” with the Africans. That he had toiled for it and they should do the same.
At that moment in time, though a little boy in my preteens, I lost respect for that man. Something in my spirit just went off. His reputation in my life was instantly soiled. What did this Millionaire and Ringtone Apoko do?
Selfishness and Reputation
They were selfish. There is only one thing that I can imagine at the moment that if you did you would instantly lose your reputation. It is simply this: Be selfish. Why is it that selfishness causes you to lose your reputation?
The world we live in is looking for selfless people. At the bare minimum, the world is looking for people who will make them feel among other things:
- Cared for
Selfishness at the root of every vice.
- If I lacked integrity, it will be because I am selfish…for the most part
- If I used people for my own gain, it will be because I am selfish
- If I used shortcuts to have dishonest gain, it will be because I am selfish
- If I was greedy, it will be because at the root of it all, I am selfish.
- If I made people feel that they are inferior, it would be because I am selfish
- If I was in a position to help and didn’t, it will be because I was selfish.
Reputation is simply what other people think and say about you, and for the most part, it will be after they have had some interactions with you. If you were to lose your reputation in an instant, it will be for the most part because you did something totally selfish.
I have a reason to believe that whatever it is that you do to lose your reputation either instantly or otherwise, it will have to be directly connected to being selfish.
Selflessness and Reputation
Therefore, if you want to keep your reputation strong, I strongly suggest that you rid your life of selfishness or any appearance of it. If anything, if you lived your life with selflessness, it because extremely difficult for your reputation to be soiled, no matter how much people try.
An acquaintance came into my life at a time that I needed help the most. This man went ahead and showed me a level of selflessness that not even my close relatives have done in their entire lives. Unfortunately, he went ahead and defrauded my friends and other people of large sums of money.
How you make others feel
What I remember though is how he bailed me out and how he made me feel. His reputation in the eyes of those people he defrauded was lost instantly because of his selfishness. Incidentally, his reputation grew overnight because he seemed as if he was being selfless…until the truth found us out.
One thing is for sure though, if I met this man on the streets, I will forever be grateful to him. I will never hesitate to give him a bear hug. That hug will not be for his selfishness in defrauding my friends (they would shoot him am sure), but it will be because of his selflessness in my lowest moment of need.
We shall keep this series up with the next article.