3 things I have learned about being a public person with strong perspectives

There are many things you learn if you write and blog often. One is your vocabulary gets better. Second, you tend to think through things quicker and can crystallize thoughts into basic and fundamental arguments and finally, you get used to listening and appreciating counter points for things you don’t assume are up for debate.

The more meaningful observations I have are the following.

  • Attitude determines everything.

If you are going to have a perspective, be prepared to defend it, have it shredded by others with opinions, anecdotes and innuendoes. Even if your facts and data back you up, there’s nothing stopping people with opinions that are different from yours claiming you are wrong and they are right. Take it in your stride.

A colleague told me this – be prepared to disagree but don’t be disagreeable.

  • You are never as good as people say you are and not as bad as they say either.

Most of the people who will interact with you will form opinions on some 2 minutes of interaction, some in a 30 minute meeting, others, via a Facebook link you shared, another person’s single interaction with you once, maybe your comment or lack of that on Twitter, or the headline of a blog post. Some want to look for any fodder to defend their existing opinions (both positive and negative) of you.

A colleague told me this – if you judge a person based on their best interaction with you or their worst interaction, you are immature.

  • If you build your reputation over many years it will take many years and many mistakes to bring it down.

The corollary is if your reputation is built overnight, it soils overnight as well.

One hit wonders or over-night famous in 15 minutes are like a helium ballon, they soar quickly and burst just as fast. However, it takes years of neglect and poor maintenance for a defective part to cause a car to stall. I used to believe that you have to build your reputation over years, and it can be shredded overnight by one single mistake. Not so. Most people (there are many exceptions) are more even keeled than that.

A friend mentioned this to me – a house built of brick and stone, however poorly built, still withstands many years of the storm.

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