So Much Depends on Your Reputation, Guard it With Your Life

In the social realm, appearances are the barometer of almost all of our judgments, and you must never be misled into believing otherwise. One false slip, one awkward or sudden change in your appearance, can prove disastrous.This is the reason for the supreme importance of making and maintaining a reputation that is of your own creation. That reputation will protect you in the dangerous game of appearances, distracting the probing eyes of others from knowing what you really like, and giving you a degree of control over how the world judges you – a powerful position to be in.

Reputation has power like magic: With one stroke of its wand, it can double your strength.

It can also send people scurrying away from you. Whether you exact the same deeds appear brilliant or dreadful can depend entirely on the reputation of the doer.

In the ancient Chinese in the Wei Kingdom, there was a man named Mi Tsu-hsia who had a reputation for supreme civility and graciousness. He became the ruler’s favorite. It was a law in Wei that “whoever rides secretly in the ruler’s coach shall have his feet cut off” but when Mi-Tsu-hsia’s mother fell ill, he used the royal coach to visit her, pretending that the ruler had given him permission. When the ruler found out, he said, “How dutiful is Mi Tzu-hsia! For this mother’s sake he even forgot that he was committing a crime making him liable to lose his feet!”

Another time the two of them took a stroll in an orchard. Mi Tzu-hsia began eating a peach that he could not finish, and he gave the ruler the other half to eat. The ruler remarked, “You love me so much that you would even forget your own taste and let me eat the rest of the peach!” Later, however, envious fellow courtiers, spreading word that Mi Tzu-hsia was actually devious and arrogant, succeeded in damaging his reputation. Now the ruler came to see his actions in a new light. “This fellow once rode in my coach under pretense of my name” he told the couriers angrily, “and another time he gave me a half–eaten peach” For the same actions that had charmed the ruler when he was the favorite, Mi Tzu-hsia now had to suffer the penalties. The fate of his feet depended solely on the strength of his reputation.

In the beginning, you must work to establish a reputation for one outstanding quality, whether generosity or honestly or cunning. This quality sets you apart and gets other people to talk about you. You then make your reputation know to as many people as possible, and watch as it spreads like wildfire.

As they say, your reputation inevitably precedes you, and if it inspires respect, a lot of your work is done for you before you arrive on the scene, or utter a single word.

Your success seems destined by your past triumphs. Much of the success of Henry Kissinger’s shuttle diplomacy rested on his reputation for ironing out differences; no one wanted to be seen as so unreasonable that Kissinger could not sway him. A peace treaty seemed a fiat accompli as soon as Kissinger’s name became involved in the negotiations.

Make your reputation simple and base it on one sterling quality. This single quality – efficiency, or integrity – becomes a kind of calling card that announces your presence and places others under a spell.


Reputation is a treasure to be carefully collected and hoarded. Especially when you are first establishing it, you must protect it strictly, anticipating all attacks on it. Once it is solid, do not let yourself get angry or defensive at the slanderous comments of onlookers – that reveals insecurity, not confidence in your reputation. Take the high road instead, and never appear desperate in your self defense.

Reputation is critical; there are no exceptions of this law. Perhaps, not caring, what others think of you, you gain a reputation for insolence and arrogance, but that can be a valuable image in itself – Oscar Wilde used it to great advantage. Since we must live in society and must depend on the opinions of others, there is nothing to be gained by neglecting your reputation. By not caring how you are perceived, you let others decide this for you.

Be the master of your fate, and also of your reputation.

Always awed by Robert Greene and his depth of research..presented an excerpt. Inspiration always. SpeakIn.


Author: Deepshikha KumarDeepshikha is the founder and Managing Partner at SpeakIn - India's first and largest consortium of business experts servicing over 200 areas of expertise. The winner of 2017 Asia Women Icon Award for entrepreneurship she works with speakers, industry experts and thought leaders globally, engaging these leaders to inspire, motivate and channelize events.

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