If I treated Paul with great kindness and generosity, he would praise me at my funeral as being the most wonderful man who ever lived. But if I also treated John with cruelty and cheated him every chance I could, he would have only terrible things to say.
The two would argue bitterly defending their position about what type of person I really was. Both would be right. And that is the problem to defining a persons character and in some cases it makes you wonder who you are.
If you ever doubt yourself, not sure if you are a good or bad person based on what people say about you, you need only consider Paul and John arguing at my funeral.
You are not anything at all if you are not absolutely consistent, and few people are. There will always be someone you do not like and you will treat them badly, as opposed to others who you do like and treat well. Are you a different person? Not at all, but by all subjective appearances you are. People will view you by the actions they see, regardless of the circumstances. This is the danger of gossip, it gives a generalization based on a momentary event.
The key is that it is a subjective opinion that determines who you are at each moment. We are in a constant state of change and are merely reactive beings in the normal human condition. You will be judged by your actions at the moment someone is watching you, and that is really unfair, even if you do the same thing.
By cultivating balance and consistency through knowing yourself you will have one and only one reputation. This is a great achievement and crucial to success. If you have a great reputation with many people, and are about to get a wonderful job or sale, then one person who you once treated badly puts in their little dig about you being a nasty person, you may lose your opportunity. It only takes a drop of poison to ruin a good meal.
Fragmentation, a principle cause of various reactions, is of course a problem we must eliminate and is thoroughly discussed in other articles and my books. It is the fragments that make your actions swing, as you are well aware happens.
From this point of view, we have looked at your life, your success and the possible causes of why what seemed to be going so well all of a sudden turned sour and the other person lost interest in you. People do not like confrontation and so if they are moving forward with you on a project, then all of a sudden drop out, it could very well be that someone said something and they did not question it.
This foolishness cost my company a very large deal once. My business partner was negotiating with an investor and when the investor asked who the CEO was, hearing my name he said he would never do business with me and backed out. My foolish partner never asked him if he was certain they are talking about the same David Samuel. There are many people with the same name, and in this case, it was a different David that committed the wrongdoing.
Foolish indeed not to question, but more common than you may like to accept. This now takes us from looking only at you and your actions to how you view other people. That investor lost a great opportunity that another investor we later found made a good profit on.
Are your actions so inconsistent that there are an equal number of people who could say you are good as those who will say you are bad? Or are there only a few who would take one of the sides?
Knowing how this effects your success, I am certain you will see the logic in working towards being consistent in all your actions. You actions are not only how you treat others, but how you react to what you hear.
When you are considering doing business or dating, be cautious of the gossip and stories you may hear. Verify everything you hear of another person. In many religious or spiritual teachings, gossip is absolutely forbidden for this reason. Not only it harms the subject, but it can harm the other people as well by turning them away from what could be vital to their success.
Act impeccably as possible, commit no actions to be criticized on as much as possible.
Treat all information you hear with dubious ears. Verify the good and the bad, get many opinions from many sources.
Believe nothing that you hear and only half of what you see, remembering that actions are viewed with another persons poor vision.
Remember always this most important saying; “You are your actions.”