TW Viewpoint | What's In a Name?

February 7, 2018 | Winston Gosse

What's in a name? Juliet asked this of her beloved Romeo in Shakespeare's most famous work? What about your name? Do you have a good reputation?


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Juliet was telling Romeo that a name itself is an "artificial and meaningless convention", and that the name did not make the man! But a name is certainly important in the context of reputation and daily choices. As Warren Buffet said, "It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it."

So how important is your reputation and what determines it? How much is your reputation or name worth to you?

An ancient Proverb states "a good name is better than riches" and "better than precious ointment" Do you agree with that?

How is a good name or reputation built? In life there are generally three significant decisions we need to make. These decisions include marriage, our career path, whether or not to have a child. There are other decisions of course, but these are among the most important.

While it's true that these major choices are important, it is often the day to day choices that define us, who we really are as a person. And these every day decisions are how we define, build and establish our character, which in turn establishes our reputation.

So what do you want your reputation to be? What kind of choices are you making daily which impacts your life and who you really are as a person?

A defining aspect of character is the ability to make courageous choices at any given time. Do we choose based on convenience or conviction, principle or pressure? Most people rarely find the inner strength and fortitude to make the best choices, sometimes afraid of making the tough decisions which life can demand. This often leads to a life of "if onlys" a life of remorse and regret.

We must be making hundreds of meaningful choices every day. These small decisions require reservoirs of strength, faith, and clarity. Every moment we're given two paths to follow and we're challenged with a chance to either impact and elevate our lives and those around us or not. Remember a choice not taken is still a choice.

Sometimes one quick split-second decision defines us, and might even determine how well we'll be remembered. All of us have seen examples in the political sphere and other spheres that a reputation that is built over a lifetime, can be destroyed by one careless action and moral indiscretion.

Thousands of years before the internet and social media, the ethics found in the 'Chapters of the Fathers' taught, "Do not say something we do not want to be heard, for in the end it will be heard." - Pirkei Avot (Chapters of the Fathers)

No action is private and every choice reflects our past and determines our future of who we really are.

As Frank Outlaw founder of Bi-Lo grocery chain in the US once said: "Watch your thoughts; for they become words. Watch your words; for they become actions. Watch your actions; for they become habits. Watch your habits; for they become character. Watch your character for it will become your destiny."

And Dwight L. Moody stated: "If I take care of my character, my character will take care of me."

Only when you know your values can you live them. Our lives are constituted by the choices we make every day, which in turn helps to determine our reputation, our character, our name and who we really are!

So who are you? What are the values that define you? In your name lies your reputation! Be strong and of good courage and make the right decisions every day!

I am Winston Gosse for Tomorrow's World Viewpoint.

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