Reputation and Freedom

Reputation and Freedom

Reputation opens the way, but imposes restrictions.

This sweet word: freedom!

The desire to step up is always born with the influence of the mystical word “freedom.” It is so inviting! But next to social status, the category “reputation” always appears…

The most common (and extremely harmful) myth about reputation is that a respected person can afford anything. For example, you can be rude and threaten journalists with impunity if you are an influential official, or twist the hands of partners and squeeze the sweat out of employees if you own a large company, or act like always suffering helicopter parent and hoovering your partner endlessly and baselessly without anticipating a counter-reaction.

An old saw “as you give, you receive” is quite a good one. Reputation opens the way but imposes restrictions. Using the trust of people important to you, you can buy, borrow, hire, sell more expensively, and sign first contact more easily or get multiple orgasms from your own greatness and unquestionable authority like applause, likes, reposts, and friend requests on Facebook.

All this is possible right up until the moment when you feel that you have become a hostage of a captured or randomly created reputation. Society seeks an easy fix. And the more complex the world is, the simpler solutions are needed. Differences between halftones have long been able to be distinguished by not every eye; impression requires contrast. Hence the phantasmagoric costumes and idiotic antics of media persons.

The public likes linear behaviour. Shine and spend your money if you are a rich person; be stupid and amazing if you are a freak; be fashionable and flirty if you are a glamorous diva; bend over backward naked in public for the right to work harder than men and indulge in sweet vices on an equal if you are a feminist. The main thing is to come up to expectation.

By the way, it is very pleasant to a certain extent. To be a beauty queen as long as you can or as long as it pleases you. As a tycoon, while consumers buy, banks lend, partners believe, and money has value for you. A principled politician, as long as there is the same money for the usual way of life, and you are not sick of it yet. A pop star as long as there are strength and listeners. That is, until the minute you enjoy your notorious personal brand of any scope, from family to humanity.

But everything in this world has an end, except for its uncertainty and unpredictability. Children grow out of short pants, and people grow out of imaginary stilts. Life hurts someone and clearly demonstrates that society does not perceive you the way you would like. A 45-year-old bachelor suddenly finds himself not an enviable groom but discarded genetic waste. A promising scientist with a claim to genius becomes a morally outdated modification of a researcher. The young politician becomes a retired Komsomol member.

And someone discovers that they are cramped in those reputational boundaries they had created. And one wants to be not just a cute boy who protects other people’s interests in business but a full-fledged business player. Not a devoted half of a man but a complete unit.

And a new round begins. And again, someone creates a Procrustean bed of conventions with a tenacity worthy of a better application. Another reaches a new level of understanding of what reputation is, why it is needed, and what are the reasons for reputational stiffness. That is, one realizes that reputation both gives freedom and takes it away. The more you engage in formal procedures for its construction, disregarding real life, the less benefit and more problems.

By telling ourselves, “I am a businesswoman” or “I am a sex bomb,” we limit our nature and potential for self-realization.

We become too serious to laugh at ourselves and too boring to interest others, too concerned with public opinion instead of dealing with the quality of our lives and their purpose. That is, unfree, clamped, and inflexible.

Accordingly, the truly right attitude to reputation is not in hysterics about unpleasant reviews or imperfect photos and not in treating press services and PR agencies (“Ah, I do not like my view here; there are only a few likes there”) but in learning to relate to working on a reputation as an organic and exciting game and a part of life that does not require excessive effort. That is, both seriously and not seriously simultaneously because this is the only way to overstep the boundaries and become the owner of your reputation, not its hostage.

Forbes 2017