What matters most is how you behave when no one else is looking…
We have so many ways to craft a public image these days through social media but none of the silly things we post or say in those places matters. Not really. And, look how many times famous people have shown their true colors when they failed to remember others were watching. Mel Gibson comes to mind with his intoxicated anti semitic comments but so does Reese Witherspoon with her drunken antics or even someone like General David Petraeus with his ridiculous affair.
What truly matters is how we act when we aren’t on stage, when there is no one to try to impress. Are we still choosing to do the right things?
This isn’t a new idea. It was John Wooden who said, “Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.”
And, it is our behavior that determines our character when we think no one is looking. Doing the right thing comes more easily when it is already part of our general nature. Certainly every one of us makes mistakes. We all do stupid things from time to time. It’s part of being human and one way to learn painful but important lessons.
But generally, if we are trying to do the right thing for the simple fact that we should, then our character will generally be made more whole, and we have the added benefit of not needing to worry about our reputation because we aren’t focused on trying to hide our true self.