"If you worry about your reputation you don't deserve to have one."

Nassim Nicholas Taleb 1/2:
If you worry about your reputation you don't deserve to have one.
Let me add just a bit to Taleb's great quote ...

True reputation is earned based on your positive CONTRIBUTIONS to entities other than yourself and your family: employers, customers, industry, society, Church, country, world, whatever.

Ask yourself: What have I discovered, invented, shared, set up, or built that will be of significant value to another entity for some time?

Contributions are not about our title (director, VP, etc). It's nice to have a big title (I would like to have one, too). At best, titles make us and our family happy. But chasing after titles could be a sign of narcissism. Titles are rarely a trustworthy certificate of contribution. This is true today when titles are increasingly achieved through bootlicking, back-stabbing, even hijacking another's job.

Contributions have longer life. They cannot be erased overnight. Five hundred years after German professor Martin Luther's "Reformation," the Church is still celebrating his contribution. Luther's more accurate interpretation of the Bible helped re-imagine the West, which consequently became the most creative, beautiful, and inspiring place on the planet. Contrast that with this: after your post-death eulogy has been presented, who cares about your title?

Reputation, even if earned through contribution to other entities, can be "volatile." When you make a mistake, your reputation suffers for a while. When you speak the truth and trigger a misinformed snowflake, your reputation tanks for a while in the mind of that snowflake.

That brings us to Taleb's another great quote ...

Nassim Nicholas Taleb 2/2:
The main difference between a BS vendor (Krugman) and a doer (Musk) is that a doer, necessarily, has scars.
You may have read a biography of Elon Musk. He has suffered "reputation volatility" and he has scars. There's a price to pay when you try to bring positive change/contribution. Musk doesn't think about his reputation. He's focused on what useful things he could bring to the world.

How about the rest of us who move from project to project or from company to company or from country to country? Of course, the rest of us too are useful doers. But the world gets its inspiration from the Elon Musks and the Mahatma Gandhis because these folks paid a price to make lasting positive contributions.


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