Friday, January 27, 2012

Some reputations are not earned but created.

I was reminded by a friend recently that a reputation is not always something we honestly earn or even actually try to achieve. It can instead develop as a response to perceptions people may get from things they have heard others say and not actually from things they have witnessed for themselves. It's a lot like the game called "Telephone" where people pass something they are told on to others down the line. By the time it gets to the end person what was passed on has usually changed drastically.

I once got into a physical altercation for which I have no idea why it started. It happened in a hamburger joint parking lot of  the city where I graduated from high school. I had been taking Karate classes at the time and word spread that I used my Karate training to defeat three guys at the same time by myself. The truth was a guy who had been drinking a lot was standing with two friends in the parking lot when for some unknown reason he took a swing at me with his fist as I walked by their car. I got lucky by using my forearm to glance off his attempt and instead grabbed him and sat him on the ground, which wasn't that hard to do in his condition. His two friends, not being as tipped, just got him up from where he was sitting and helped him back into their car.

Even though I did go on to study Karate for several more years and earned my belt, with the exception of sparing matches in class, I don't recall ever having used Karate to defeat anyone, defend myself, or defend anyone else for that matter. In some cases a reputation is just a colony of artists painting the picture of a reality that they may believe to be greater than one they can achieve for themselves. When this happens it is usually not something that is available to them in their own life so they embellish on the picture. But the real point is after all, it's not about who other people believe you are, it's about who you believe you are!

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