Whether we like it or not, we cannot avoid people. In fact we all need people – friends, buddies, acquaintances, family, work colleagues and neighbours. Of course, it is entirely up to you to decide the level at which you want to maintain each relationship.
As reputation is a major determinant in how far and deep a relationship can go, it is important to be aware how you portray yourself to people around you. Students for example are at a period in their lives where they meet many people, some of which are pivotal in their lives. Some of their friends may go on to become political leaders and captains of industry. Having a good reputation may seem a trivial matter to someone whose major preoccupation is how to pass exams and to survive on a meagre income. However, the reputation you slowly develop of yourself in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd years of university soon become how you are known in later years. Essentially, what people know and see of you now becomes your reputation even well after university and you may never have the opportunity to shake it off.
For example, you may consider your habit of never returning items or money borrowed from other people as a minor thing. But this minor indiscretion may be the only thing that Uche down the block remembers of you. This will certainly affect her opinion of you 15 years on when she is deciding on whether to make you a strategic partner for the large conglomerate she now heads.
In other words:
- Don’t live a reckless and irresponsible life. The way people see you today is how they will judge you in years to come.
- It takes years to build a reputation and it only takes one moment to destroy it so be consistent.
We all benefit when we do things right.