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On Integrity and Reputation

You never get a second chance at a first impression.

It is so often said, but rarely understood. We are so self-obsessed with how we are perceived by others – we try to curate a good reputation, dress well, and show off. There is some benefit to caring what others think; for how else are we to work well with others? However, like many things in life, our attention to the judgment of others follows the law of diminishing returns, whereby there are marginal returns when reaching a certain level of input.

There is a rule that one may live by that has the greatest effect on one’s reputation: Live with integrity. There is no need to develop a reputation if one lives properly. It is a waste of time pretending to be somebody you are not when you could really be that person. Be honest, fair, kind, and humble.

At the end of the day, you have to look at the man in the mirror. Forget what others think. Are you living with integrity when nobody is watching? Can you live with yourself?

“If you are ever tempted to look for outside approval, realize that you have compromised your integrity. If you need a witness, be your own.” - Epictetus


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