Law 5: So much depends on Reputation – Guard it with your Life


48 Laws of Power

The lessons    Law 1    Law 2   Law 3   Law 4   Law 5

‘Reputation is the cornerstone of Power. Having a reputation alone can help you to intimidate and win; once you lose your reputation, you become vulnerable and can be attacked. Always prepare for attacks, so you can wade them before they rise’.

Your reputation goes ahead of you before you get to where you are going. When companies or jobs need recommendations, your reputation will be the ones to get you the job and make ways for you. When people try to attack you or say bad things about you, your reputation will make them beat a retreat. ‘You can share your goods, even your lives, but sharing reputation is hard to come by’.

The simplest way to destroy a person is to tarnish their image and reputation, and that is why you must never allow mud to stain your reputation. When people’s reputations are attacked, they try to defend themselves, they deny rumors, but the more they try to defend, the more they wriggle in dirt and get deeper in the shit. People start to ask why are they desperately defending themselves, probably the rumors are true. Protect your reputation jealously.

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Reputation gives you a degree over the world and how they judge you. Your reputation can have magical power, and with a stroke of a wand, increase your strength. At the beginning of your life journey, your first job is the building of a reputation for outstanding quality. This can be honesty, generosity, or something good. This quality separates you from others. You ensure you build slowly, with a very solid foundation; before you know it, it spreads like wildfire.

A very good reputation increases your presence and exaggerates your strength without you having to stress yourself. This reputation creates an aura for you, which can instill respect and fear. Your reputation goes ahead of you, earns you respect, and much of the work is done for you before you arrive there or even say a word. Your current successes are a function of your past actions, words, inactions, triumphs, and reputation.

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It’s not necessarily you try to drag yourself into many things; a sterling quality with which you are known is enough. It places others under a spell, and when names are called or need recommendations, the works you have done speak for you. However, if you have stained your own reputation in the past, and you are known for dishonesty, then it is time to wash your dirty linen. If you were known for dishonesty, then start being honest, if you were known for lies, start saying the truth. Cleaning up your image is very important.

Your reputation is a treasure. When you start establishing your reputation, guard it jealously, protect it strictly. Once you eventually establish it, don’t let your anger tarnish it. You should not be insecure; rather be confident in your reputation. Don’t always jump in self-defense, and let your reputation do the talking. Let us learn a little from Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla.

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Thomas Edison, who is believed to invent electricity thought electricity could only work on direct current (DC). However, Nikola Tesla successfully created electricity through alternating current (AC) and this got Edison furious. He planned to destroy Tesla’s reputation by influencing the public to think AC is dangerous and unsafe. He, therefore, took household pets and electrocuted them. 

As if this wasn’t enough, he got the authorities to do execution through electrocution using AC. All of these efforts were to tarnish the image of Tesla, however, in the long run, Edison’s name was more damaged than Tesla’s. The lesson follows that you should never go too far in attacks of other people’s reputation, as you may be slandering yourself.

Finally, your reputation is critical. Sometimes when you ignore what people say about you, you may appear arrogant and insolent. We live in a society where we depend sometimes on the opinions of others, therefore, we should not neglect our reputation. When you decide to ignore people’s opinions about yourself, you allow others think for you. Therefore, take your fate into your own hands. Reputation is at stake.

The lessons    Law 1    Law 2   Law 3   Law 4   Law 5

Credit: Robert Greene

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