How To Destroy That Reputation You Never Had

speak up

I know you feel like skimming this article so that you can binge on 34 other posts on Medium. I know you have a lot to do today. I know you’re about to look for those big numbered titles that will give you a sense of this post in 3 seconds.

What if you did things differently this time? What if you read it all. It’s only going to take 4 min. And it might change your life. Or at least your day, but still, good return on investment right? And if you really have to go right now, this is my takeaway:

Stop overthinking, start overdoing.

You have this big fat dream of yours. But you tell yourself:

What will people say? I’m no writer; I’m no comedian, I’m no entrepreneur. How dare I? People will think I’m a phony, that I’m a fraud, right? They’ll say I have no experience, that I can’t reinvent myself overnight.

First, shhhhhhhh. Calm down. Breath. Have an herbal tea.

Now, here is my advice to you: your fears are unfounded. Your reputation, for what it is, doesn’t exist. Yes, people talk about you already, and they always will. But they talk because they are bored, just like any boring people. They don’t care. They are too busy thinking about their reputation. They will never do what you want to do.


Because they are:

  • lazy of challenging their own beliefs and lifestyles
  • scared of not being able to make it if they tried.

But you can’t afford to postpone your dreams.

Why? Read on.

Inaction is an action

Not choosing is choosing.

Waiting the right moment is a decision. It’s a decision of not taking what could be yours. It’s accepting a status quo that doesn’t serve you.

Guess what?

If you’re not serving your interests, you’re helping someone else’s. Although slavery was abolished a while ago, nowadays we face another form of it. Slavery to vanity. Don’t be a millennial slave.

We are overexposed to social media. Facsimile of success and happiness on Instagram and Facebook make us fall for it. We tend to believe that what people post about themselves is an accurate summary.

But it’s not.

Most of the time, they fail. And if they don’t, they are not trying hard enough. Don’t be fooled.

Take a step back. And then, jump forward.

jump in the void

You can decide not to act, which can be fine, depending on the situation. But be aware of the more profound reasons for your inactions. Make sure they are valid. Make sure you’re conscious of them.

You don’t want to pursue a writer’s career or [put any dream job here] because you have a day job that pays the bill? Fine, here are a few thoughts:

  • How many hours per week are you spending mindlessly watching tv shows at night? You could be writing, painting, acting, learning. But you have to rest right? Is your need for entertainment is stronger than your need to pursue your dream? Then I suggest you upgrade your goal.
  • How safe do you think your current job is? Today, safety is not real. And if some jobs appear to be secure, they are because no one else wants to do it. Do you want to be the only schmock that does it?
  • Are you not trying more monetary reasons? Or something else? Something like fear of judgment, of appearance, of failure? If you’re not somewhat scared every day, if you’re not challenging yourself every day, you’re missing out. You’re not living. You’re surviving. You’re going with the flow, like a dead leaf. It’s time you stop living in reaction. Live in action & creation instead.

Make it a goal to look bad

I’m not kidding. Fail right now. Post something ridiculous on Facebook. Like a picture of your worn-out socks. Call this prospect and miss the deal. Write the worst piece of content you’ve ever thought of, full of grammar mistakes, and post it to your blog.

Free yourself. See how nothing happens. It’s time for you to face your fears. It’s time for you to fail in public so you can set yourself free from this fear that won’t kill you. Take a slap. And get back on your feet.

« Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better » — Samuel Beckett

Doing so, you will learn. And those lessons can’t be found online. They can’t be taught. They have to be experienced.

Grow grit. Grow resilience. One thing’s for sure: you can do it. But will you?

Let me tell you something: you’re nobody. So stop caring about this so-called reputation, because you don’t have any. Whatever you do, be it good or bad, proud-worthy or not, will be forgotten in a few days. And you’ll have to do it all over again.

It’s a never-ending chase. But you have to love the chase.

back at it

Process is everything. Outcome is nothing. When you reach a goal, you need another one, a bolder one, or you wane.

Comfort zone is for losers. Comfort zone is the sofa of your life. You might enjoy it while you’re laying on it. But in the long run, you will have so many regrets about what you could have done instead.

You can’t take back time.

You can either be comfortable, or amazing. What is it you’ll choose to be? Learn to love to fail, because it’s the only path to growth.

People who succeed without failures are fragile achievers. They will collapse when they encounter the first obstacle. And trust me, they will. Life is not a calm river. Life is a freaking storm. Be an experienced one-eyed sailor, or sink on your beautiful yacht.

Whatever you set yourself up for, you will succeed

Your possibilities are endless. Like water, you can extend to whatever the container is. Make it small by your own self-limiting beliefs, and you’ll do small meaningless things. Make it huge, believe in your endless potential, and you’ll conquer mountains. You’ll do what everybody thought couldn’t be done.

And then, they will find some external reasons why you managed to do it, and why they can’t. They’ll dismiss the process. They’ll deny the pain. They’ll discard the courage.

But once again, it’s their lives. It’s not yours. And yours is what matters the most.

I love when I hear people praising « overnight » success.

« It took me 17 years and 114 days to become an overnight success. » — Lionel Messi

We devote a cult to « genius » because it makes us feel better about ourselves.

“For if we think of genius as something magical, we are not obligated to compare ourselves and find ourselves lacking… To call someone divine means: here there is no need to compete.” — Nietzsche

Time has come to raise the bar.

Time has come to see how big of a shot you could be.

But first, you have to decide.

You have to think bigger. You have to change everything: who you surround yourself with, how you see yourself now, how you envision what you can be.

Learn every day. Expand your skills. Intelligence is malleable. Nothing is set in stone. Adopt a growth mindset.

If you’re a Medium regular reader, the odds are you’re in your mid-twenties to late-thirties. That means, you already spent a close to a third of your life so far.

A third. Sorry, I know that hurts.

If I took away a third of your savings, you would be pissed right?

Well, you already gave away a third of your most essential belongings, your life. To whom? People’s opinions. Be it strangers, friends, family; you name it. They took it away from you because you let them do so. Time to claim back the only belonging that matters: your time.

The clock is ticking. What are you going to do about it?

Originally published at Gary Scetbon.