Unbeknownst to many, every one of us walks with a “thinking bubble” above his head. It is the “reputation” aura, “the general opinion that people have of you.”
You don’t see it but everybody else does.
Reputation builds slowly, but after a certain time, this aureole becomes more noticeable and can be seen (some say smelled) from afar. This luminous halo generates a variety of emotions reflecting the way people really feel about you.
Reputation is important because, like your shadow, it follows you everywhere you go. Sometimes you manage to ditch it… but only for a very short time. Like a faithful mutt, it will always catch up with you; a leopard can’t change its spots.
Even when you move, your DNA will follow you. If you have been untrustworthy, spiteful, selfish, manipulative, greedy, etc. these traits will stick to you like lice, and eventually, people will subtly or openly cast you away.
Your character (your mental and moral qualities) will also show, but in a different light. Moral fiber is what is important. And this quality was amply embodied by former president Jimmy Carter, a shining example of what a leader ought to be.
Regardless of his achievements or failures, Jimmy Carter was above all an honest man, a person of honor and integrity.
He was a deeply religious man, and despite my strong aversion for religion, I respect and admire him.
When he left office, he never tried to get rich; he simply continued to do what he preached… doing the right thing. In 2002, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in co-founding the Carter Center.
“You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do.” Carl Jung
When applying for a high-office job, listed among various credentials, character (not assets) should stand prominently on your list. People need to believe that you will do the right thing when faced with a crisis.
When deciding, ask yourself “Would I want this man/woman to be in my foxhole when hell breaks loose?” This person’s reputation should be your guide.
“A reputation once broken may possibly be repaired, but the world will always keep their eyes on the spot where the crack was.” Joseph Hall