August 31

Today's quotation:

A person's judgment is best when one can forget oneself and any reputation one may have acquired and can concentrate wholly on making the right decisions.

Raymond Spruance

Today's Meditation:

"What's in it for me?" is a question that can mess up our judgment something awful.  "How will people see me?"  "What will people think of me?"  These are questions that rarely have to do with the actual decision at hand-- most of us have a pretty strong sense of right and wrong, but sometimes we allow what we think others will think of us to cloud our judgment and lead us to decisions that aren't exactly right, and that's a shame.

Besides, I know from experience that what other people think of me is based on incomplete information-- I've been called irresponsible for missing a meeting when I was dreadfully sick, for example.  So just what is my good reputation worth when it's based on appearances rather than deeper truths?

When we worry about our reputations rather than what we know to be right or wrong, we set ourselves up for some potentially disastrous results.  Do I worry about people seeing me as weak if I'm asked to help someone in need?  Do I worry about others thinking that I'm dumb if I ask for help when I really need the help?  Do I worry about someone thinking I'm bad at something if I let someone else take the credit for something that I helped on?

Somehow, many of us are brought up to believe that what other people think of us is more important than what we think-- or actually know-- about ourselves.  We let ourselves make decisions that we know to be harmful to others just so that we don't lose face with others.  If we want to be true to ourselves and therefore at peace with ourselves, then we need to be making what we know to be the right decisions, not those that will make us look good to others.

My reputation is much less important to me than my integrity.  My reputation may make others treat me in ways that I see as better, but if I violate my integrity, then all the treatment in the world isn't going to help me to be at peace with the things that I've done to gain that reputation.  Our character and integrity should come first always, and our reputations will follow suit.

Questions to consider:

Why do some people worry more about what others think than what they know to be right and wrong?

Is a reputation worth it if we compromise our integrity to gain it?

How do you define reputation?  In others, are you more concerned about reputation or about integrity?

For further thought:

Character is the foundation stone upon which one must build to win respect.  Just as no worthy building can be erected on a weak foundation, so no lasting reputation worthy of respect can be built on a weak character.

R.C. Samsel

more on reputation



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