Saturday, May 07, 2005

Character or Reputation: Whats Your Pick?

Last few days I have been watching this news of a British formula 1 driver and the Honda car company found guilty of fielding an underweight car which came third in the grand prix. Sporting history is replete with many more such examples like taking performance-enhancing drugs to achieve fame. What satisfaction a man can get if he knows that the fame achieved by him was by unethical means. I often wonder why people at all levels do things like this to achieve fame. Many of us try to sneak into others paper to know that one extra multiple choice answer that may decide our fate in the public exams. Many others thrive on borrowed ideas, especially the music world where plagiarism is the order of the day.

Undoubtedly, its the question of one's integrity and honesty. More deeply this has a profound aspect dealing with one's character and reputation. Character is what we are and reputation is what others think we are. Most of us all the time and all of us many a times are more comfortable to have a good reputation than character. When we look at ourselves in naked honesty, we know what we actually are. But we are comfortable with a good reputation, a false face, facade that we are not, if others like that false face and facade. Most of us bother more about what others think about us than what we think of ourselves. We are more worried all the time with what is visible that what actually it is. I will quote a simple example which most of us will agree with. When we are buying a table cloth for our dining table or a pair of jeans, we mostly do not select a white coloured cloth. Why? Because we feel that it gets dirty "faster"! A deeper thinking makes us realise that the amount of dirt does not depend on the colour of the cloth but on the dirt that gathers on it. This dirt is always the same amount. Just that in a white colour cloth, it is more visible. Hence it doesn't "look" nice. In other colours, the quantity of dust is same but the its "less visible". So we are comfortable with a "dirty" coloured table cloth as long as it doesn't "look" dirty. Can you see a relation between the character and reputation what I was talking about?

We try to put a facade, project something what we always think other may like rather than what actually it is, what actually we are. I am trying to impress someone, that someone is trying is impress someone else and this cycle goes on. Undoubtedly, every one has a facade, a face other than his real true self for this world. The more this distance between the facade and the real, less is the inner happiness of a person. More these two faces are congruent the more blissful a person is. The distance between this facade and the real is striking in the case of the rich, the famous, the popular esp in the media world. Someone remarked "Whosoever said money cant buy happiness didnt know where to shop". I feel money can buy comforts but not happiness. Comforts may get a man temporary illusion of happiness but the real happiness comes from how close your facade is to your real self. That's the precise reason why the rich and the famous run towards the spiritual gurus while the supposedly illiterate, poor shepherd or an Eskimo is truly happy living his day to his hearts content, blissfully ignorant of the so called comforts which are supposedly there to make a man more happy. I am not saying that we must eschew wealth or comforts. Its not an ideal world. But defintely we can make an effort to live honestly,ethically and true to our self. Easier said than done!!

This blog is not a morale lecture but a look at ourselves through the thinking lens. Because the knowledge of the fact that we are ignorant is the first step towards education!


Barath said...

Great post!

Similar lines of thoughts...

well written...if I had read this b4 my post would have definetly had ur link...

great analogy!

Shashank said...

Good day doc.
tell me somthin.
i am guy with actually a good character. trust me i can proudly say that cause i think twice abt even thinkin abt hurting som1.
but i put up diff faces in front of diff ppl so that i can keep every1 happy.i m not talkin bout girlfriends(wish i had some).
i m talkin bout my diff friend cirles.
so in ur opinion is that ok or not?
what say...

by the way
'Character is what we are and reputation is what others think we are' gr8 quote...did ya come up with dat.
also nice pic of urself(in the profile with the thumbs up)...ur attitude resembles with ur personality test pic..he heh he

The Soul Doctor said...

Hi shashank.

i am guy with actually a good character

I like your confidence. thats the way!

but i put up diff faces in front of diff ppl so that i can keep every1 happy

We all do that. But the faster we realise that we CANT keep EVERYONE happy, the sooner we would stop putting this facade.

infact, I feel if there is one person I can keep COMPLETELY happy, he is I. I am trying to stop putting up this facade.I must confess that I am hurting too many people in the bargain. Not many of us would like to hear the truth and truths are always never pleasant. But the journey would continue!

And about the quote, since you asked it, I am reminded of having read such a kind of line, in a different form, somewhere long ago. But I just rephrased it, to this effect. In anycase, i think this is a common line. nothing great in it. Thanks for the compliments though.

Yeah, my attitude resembles the monkey. Jumping all the time.

prash said...

In today's world everything is considered ethical unless you are caught doing it. When there is an easier option available, 99% of the people will opt for it.