Reputation, character, status, standing, and social capital: all of these words mean the same thing; power and influence. I’ll refer to reputation as social capital because like physical capital in a bank account, it can be credited or debited. Every day we have choices of which actions we will take. These actions can positively or negatively affect our reputation. This social currency is a lot easier lost than it is earned. You should always be self-aware of how your current actions are affecting your social capital. A lifetime of work can all be erased by a simple slip of the tongue. Reputations are powerful yet fragile.
Today, it is easier to be exposed than ever before. No matter which way you look, you’ll find a scandal. Some of these scandals are factual while others are not. No matter the truth of the case, the accused’s reputation is at least stained forever. As I mentioned earlier, reputations are essentially power and influence. Depending on who’s using it, their intentions can be good or bad. A lot of good can happen because of someone’s reputation, but a lot of bad can happen as well. For example, Harvey Weinstein was able to take advantage of a lot of people because of his reputation as a powerful individual. Also, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was able to help a lot of people and put a nation on the right track for social equality due to his reputation as a powerful yet fair individual. The power of reputation lies in the intentions of the individual.
Protect your reputation at all costs. At the end of the day, it’s really all we have. You must be self-aware of your actions. You can’t afford to do things that take away from your reputation. As someone who is in the critical building portion of their reputation creation. Very small increments in either direction have huge effects down the road. The smallest of streams eventually turn into a raging river. The same is true for our reputations. It’s up to you to decide whether your river is good or bad.