Your reputation is one of the most precious things that you own. It may be the most precious thing. Reputation takes a whole life to earn. It can be destroyed in a minute. My advice is to ‘always do the right thing’. There is no rule book on ‘doing the right thing’. You have to work it out. Bad deeds will come back to bite you. There will always be someone going to put the bad word on you. Don’t give them the fuel. Your reputation is important, so you always do the right thing so that people go around saying that you are a good person. If someone then says you are bad, no-one believes them because they know so many people that say good of you.
If nine people say something bad about a person and one person says something good, then, that person is probably a bad person. I one person says something bad and nine people say something good, the person is probably good. You have a problem when you hear five good things and five bad things. You need to be the person who has nine people saying good things.
Never forget that your reputation is precious, but fragile. It can be smashed in seconds. Say the wrong thing to the wrong person at the wrong time and it is smashed. Reputation is a commonized general opinion about you. It is what people believe about you. It is influenced mostly by your behaviour and actions towards others but also by what other people say. You have control over your actions but not over the words others say. So you need to maximize the goodness you exude when you interact with people but also to encourage others to say good things about you. To minimize the volume of persons saying bad things about you, it is better to have most people as friends, so avoid making enemies. Your good deeds will also deter people from believing ill words against you because they know you as a good person.
Here is a clever little quote by Charles Caleb Colton “The two most precious things this side of the grave are our reputation and our life. But it is to be lamented that the most contemptible whisper may deprive us of the one, and the weakest weapon of the other.”
He reminds us that an inappropriate whisper can destroy a reputation and that life can disappear quickly as well. Even the Queen had an opinion on the subject: “a spotless reputation is truly the most important and precious thing in any life.” Even the monarch has to look after their reputation. Through history, a monarch gains a reputation that lasts for millennia. He was “a good king”. He was “a bad king”. Monarchy was not necessarily a bad concept. The king wanted to be seen as a good king, and so he did ‘the right thing’ by his people. Yet again, there is no rulebook of what constitutes ‘right thing’. He has to be the king that deserves a good reputation.
Even to a business, reputation is precious. It is crucial in maintaining relationships and driving success. Organizations need to manage their reputation with the utmost of care. Sensible thinking in a business will actively work towards reputation maintenance before trouble erupts. Thus, even a business is proactive about its reputation. It acts to protect its reputation before trouble erupts. And so it needs to be the same for a young male. As a young male, you will be given a bit of leeway, compare to an older male, as it is known that a male of young age makes a few errors whilst growing up. But it still needs to be known that you have a heart of gold. At times it can be tough to maintain the moral courage to keep to the high ground and it may test a friendship when you are asked to do something inappropriate to keep the friendship. You may need to refuse to lie to cover for the mischief of friends. This is a tough decision. But ‘right is right’ and ‘wrong is wrong’. A smart man by the name of George Russell said about his organization: “Our company operates with non-negotiable integrity.” He bolstered his principles with: “If you’re wondering whether or not to do something, ask how you would feel if it became tomorrow’s headline in the New York Times.” In simple words, you may do more damage to your reputation by doing something inappropriate to protect your reputation or someone else’s reputation. As an example, a few weeks ago, at a motorcycle competition, it was pointed out that I had missed a marker and thus should have lost more marks. I said that I would have missed the same marker on the previous lap and thus I needed a higher penalty. I was later complemented for my honesty by officials.
If you were brought up in the west, you were trained in what is known as the Christian value system. It uses a rebellious man as the role model. This rebel running with the name Jesus, battled against authority when authority was in the wrong. He also taught peace harmony and love and created a stronger family unit where the mother was held in high respect. It holds key factors to encourage respect. Stand against wrongdoing and be good to others. I say the main Christianity is this value system passed down from mother to son. The worst part about Christianity is that there is an assumption that others will reciprocate and thus Christians tend to be gullible to propaganda. So the message is to stand-up against wrong-doing, be wise enough not to fall for trickery. This includes fake news, advertising propaganda and mass propaganda.
Poor choices have destroyed the reputations and lives of numerous people in many walks of life. Business persons, entertainers, sportspersons and politicians regularly have their names across the front of newspapers as they fall from grace. It is just a fact of life that loss of respect and degraded trust damages relationships and destroys lives even if jail time is not involved. I myself am careful not to make promises that I may not fulfill. I tend to say that I will try to get something done. This takes some of the stress out of the promise.
I also say: “Never lie.” — “Never tell a lie.” Basically, be honest. One does not need to tell the ugly truth on every occupation. Nor does one give unnecessary details that may be problematic. Neither should you create wordings that match deceit. The dividing line is not easy, so I shall leave the fine interpretation to you, but stick to the rule: ‘never lie’.
Your social media information and transactions are also of significance. Keep it clean. Keep it appropriate. People will look it up to learn about you and they will include employers, unless, of course, you have no intention of getting a job. Potential friends will check your online presence to judge you. You need to be aware of your digital exposure to Facebook. Facebook collects data which finishes up in the hands of others.
Robbers may rob a bank and do time, but the bank loses reputation for being insecure.
You can also lose reputation by association without doing anything wrong yourself. Simply belonging to a group, you can get a bad reputation. Even the bible has words on the subject: “Better is a good reputation than precious oil and the day of death than the day of birth.” [Ecclesiastes 7:1 TLV]
You do not wish to ‘lose face’ and have people say:
“His name is mud.”
“He has a bad name.”
You want people to say:
“He has a spotless reputation.”
“He has a good track record.”
“He is untarnished.”
“His reputation is squeaky clean.”
It is never easy to maintain your spotless reputation – one wrong move can degrade your reputation. Newspapers are extremely good at giving people bad reputations, even undeservedly. They do it by using bad pictures and inappropriate associations: “The minister is denying that he ate food from dumpster bins.” The minister did nothing wrong, but the news-speak suggests that he is guilty of eating food past its ‘use by’ date and that he is lying about the subject. He is now guilty of things he did not do. He has done nothing wrong, but has committed numerous sins: He eats fast food. He steals food. He eats bad food. He lies about it. People may play the same stunt on you. You must be able to fend these verbal attacks. Under such circumstances, it is tough maintaining a spotless reputation, but your fortitude in fending the slur may bolster your appeal. At a meeting where I was organizing the eastern rail replacement in Perth. I once said: “I’m not an angel.” meaning that I cannot guarantee playing a little trick every now and then. I said that I would supply buses at four minutely intervals at the main station, but I knew that there might be one missing every now and then due to ‘operational reasons’. No one expects you to be an angel but your heart should always point in the right direction. Men are not saints and are not expected to be so. You will be forgiven minor transgressions provided they were not conducted with malicious intent.
In the current climate, you are guilty by association because you are male. It is popular to consider that “everything that went wrong in history is the fault of males.” It is completely erroneous as women wanted nothing to do with the stress of running nations. It is popular to suggest that all males are potential rapists. Thus, by association, you are a potential rapist. It is popular to consider all males as wife-beaters. Thus you are a potentially violent person. It is popular to consider all males to be potential pedophiles. You are guilty by association. You need to fight this as part of the fellowship of males in the world. As males, we need to uphold our reputation as being men. We need to curb this current slur against men. Men are being given an undeserved bad reputation and it is affecting the way women are treating us. They are inventing terms such as ‘toxic masculinity’ and ‘rape culture’ that are extremely damaging to the reputation of males and we need to fight back against these reputational slurs.
As a youth, you may be forgiven a few accidental transgressions as part of the process of growing into a man, but as years go by, a bad name has the potential to destroy your career and your relationships and thus it becomes essential that you guard your good name at any cost. Be the young man that deserves a good reputation. Failure to maintain a good reputation may deny you many opportunities that significantly enjoy.
There are occasions where you may need to use bad words or complete actions to stymie someone’s effort to damage you. Being mister good-guy may, on occasions, not be the best policy. If you are dealing with someone bad, you may need to show a bit of badness. A little evil in the mind may be necessary to protect ourselves. Some young man starting a bus business spoke to someone the other side of town who said: “Do you know Andy Chalkley? … Don’t *stuff* him around. He will do you over and you won’t even know that he has done it.” Someone allowed the Yellow pages to copy one of my hand-drawn logo drawings of a double deck bus. I painted one of my buses in his fleet colours. It became a bright red double-decker with gold signwriting. We are still best of friends. Maintaining your reputation may require a certain toughness.
The bible mentions reputation again … “Therefore, brethren, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task.” Thus, we can assume that better things will come to you by having a good reputation. Girls will hear of your good ways to your advantage. When you gain a good reputation, it saves the tedious task of building a rapport with people as much of the work has already been done when people have already heard good about you before they meet you. It happens to me all the time. People say things like: “Oh. I’ve heard of you. Pleased to meet you.”
In the modern world, you also need to look after your online reputation. We live in a ‘search dominated’ world. When someone is deciding whether to do business with you, they check your online presence. Even as an individual, you need to monitor this. Please: no drunken pictures. Happy togetherness pictures are fine. Sports photos and family photos are good. Just puzzle what you enjoy seeing on other person’s profiles and set this as a rule. Never put pictures that portray you as a spaced-out clown or idiot. Looking after your online reputation is a never-ending task, but you can certainly ensure that no idiot pictures are posted by yourself. If you operate as a business, you may gain a negative online presence without realizing the situation. Like a bubble, reputation is easily destroyed. You need to be seen as the man that deserves a good reputation. To achieve that, you need to be the man that deserves a good reputation. Do not try to use falsities to manipulate what others might think about us because it will backfire. You will get a reputation for using devious tactics.
A soldier might think he can gain reputation in battle, but if the battle he is fighting is perceived as pointless or inappropriate, he gains a bad reputation. Your efforts will be in vain if you participate in an activity that is considered to lack worthiness. I do sometimes wonder why people put so much effort into a sport or even into the Olympics. But I still compete in motorcycle sport, but not to win. The fellowship and fitness is important as is having a break from regular life. Sport can take you to your limits not just physically but emotionally. The principle here is to avoid pointless projects as they may be harmful to your reputation. The harmfulness comes from the unworthy nature of the project.
The concept of reputation is very complex. It is defined variously as: the beliefs or opinions that are generally held about someone or something. Your reputation has an existence that is separate from you. It is held in the minds of others. Your reputation gets into the minds of others partly from your own actions but also by the words of others. So it is a construct based on their perception of you and what they perceive others think of you. It includes everyone’s thoughts about you except your own thoughts about you. You have influence over your reputation but no control over your reputation. So it is separate to self-esteem which is how we perceive ourselves. However, our self-esteem is influenced by what others think of ourselves. So maintenance of reputation is important to maintain our own self-esteem which then makes the maintenance of happiness reliant on the maintenance of reputation. So happiness and self-esteem rely on having a great social network along with a squeaky-clean reputation. Our reputation is a factor in ensuring a happy life through the maintenance of self-esteem.