JUDGING A BOOK BY ITS COVER
When you walk through a book store, there are three things that attracts your attention on the shelves – the design of the cover, the title and the author. There is an old adage – don’t judge a book by its cover. If truth be told, in our day and age we instinctively judge people by their cover. Most people in themselves would like people to admire their cover. They go the extra mile to present themselves in the most spectacular manner to grab attention. This cover is in many respects a very subtle way to sometimes compensate for their own insecurities, misplaced ambitions, unfulfilled dreams and a distorted longing to be known.
We live in an age of a celebrity obsessed culture. Nowadays a person’s worth is attributed to the number of Facebook ‘’ likes “ or the number of Twitter followers and how often the minutest detail of one’s personal life is trending on the social media platforms. We have been intoxicated with a deep seated desire to be seen, heard or acknowledged. As someone once said, we are not suffering from self–confidence but from an abundance of self–importance.
There is something that always fascinates me when I go to social functions. During a personal introduction, the first set of questions asked normally revolves around “Where do you live? Which company do you work for? What is your title?” This immediately puts you in a kind of pecking order that sets the parameters for any further level of engagement. This notion is a function of status – our conscious or sometimes unconscious ranking or position in society in comparison to others. One’s desire for social status and acceptance can arguably be the most powerful force that drives behaviour. It is no secret that the higher your status or even perceived status in society, the better your chances to access special privileges, opportunities, rewards, recognition and just a more favourable disposition in the public eye. Social status is a key factor with major implications in our lives.
Regrettably, in a highly status conscious world, people became so entrapped in this phenomenon at the expense of authentic engagement. Obsession with a positive public profile, has caused many individuals to feed their vanity through a potent diet of pride, lust, deceit, power, and prestige. What also exacerbates the problem is a powerful media platform that elevates these artificial endeavours above what makes for genuine and meaningful living. There is nothing wrong with advancing in life. However, the litmus test is whether in your interaction with people, you consistently display appropriate and emotional health that sets a positive mood.
THE VALUE OF ANONYMITY
I do quite a bit of public speaking engagements. It never fails to amaze me that when I share my testimony about my journey of life, how people’s opinion about me undergoes a Damascus experience. I will walk in as an unknown quantity amongst distinguish audiences and afterwards be told – I never knew that you accomplished this that and the other, how was it possible to survive under such challenging circumstances, what an amazing life journey, where have you been all along…..?
There is tremendous value in anonymity. Exceptional feats were accomplished by people from a position of relative obscurity. I thrive exceptionally well outside the limelight and fashioned my life along the lines of a specialist boutique, just for the discerning and informed customer. The virtues of modesty, privacy and humility have become the guiding principles in my engagement with the outside world. The wise king Solomon once said in Proverbs 27 : 2 “ Let someone else praise you and not your own mouth; an outsider and not your own lips.”
The world is yearning for authenticity; people that are genuine, real and sincere. People that are faithful to internal convictions and not driven by external agendas. By this I am not in any way propagating perfectionism but an attitude of relational integrity where you are the real deal and not a cheap proxy of someone or something else. To bring this about will necessitate the following:
1. Having a value compass
Values are uncompromisable, undebatable truths that drive and direct behaviour. It acts as a compass against which various choices are evaluated. If you don’t stand for anything, you will fall for everything. The question I want to raise with you is – what are you standing for?
2. View yourself through the lens of humility.
Pride informs the misplaced desire for undue attention. Acting with humility does not in any way deny your self – worth but also sees the worth in others. It is taking on the heart of a servant, extending God’s love to those in need of it.
3. Be courageous
Resist compromise and stay true to yourself no matter what the cost. “ Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you cannot practice any other virtue consistently.” Maya Angelou
4. Embrace the spotlight with grace
It is inevitable that when you start impacting on the lives of people that there will be accolades, compliments, favour and kind gestures directed at you. Do not get intoxicated by it. Always remember that it is only His grace that made it possible and continuously pray for the grace to embrace it appropriately.
5. Accept yourself
The world population stands at an estimated 7 billion people. There will always be smarter, richer, cleverer, prettier, stronger people in the world than yourself. Avoid comparisons and don’t try to be someone that you’re not. Start living your own life based on your own unique gifts, talents and abilities that God created you with. David said in Psalms 139 : 14 “ I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made, your works are wonderful and my soul knows it very well.”
The spotlight can be highly seductive and accords you a temporary thrill yet with minimal fulfilment. There are just too many distractions vying for attention in our daily lives. There are just too much noise generated out there with little substance. Only those that remain truthful to themselves and the purpose of their Creator will be able to assert themselves appropriately in a world that thrives incessantly on perceptions. Let’s get real!
Please share with us any of your own perspectives about the content of the blog. Your feedback will be greatly appreciated.