Editor’s note: I’m always amazed by the wisdom of this young gentleman, Andrew Ballard. It’s not too often a high school student displays this kind of reflection. I look forward to seeing big things from him in the future.
I used to hate the idea of reputation. After all, since “only God can judge me”, why should I care about what others think of me? I’ve come to realize that my reputation is something that I (and a good many other people) tend to under-appreciate.
A personal example: I do life VERY differently from most people at my school (some of it better, some of it worse). For a long time I cared nothing for reputations, so I unconsciously let mine be built for me. Since I started high school, I’ve changed dramatically in my identity and personality, but I wasn’t intentional about changing my reputation alongside changing myself, and that’s hurt my ability and opportunities to lead in multiple instances.
However, in some other circles, I have been/become very intentional about building my reputation up, and restoring it when it’s muddied though one specific way: whenever there’s been discord between someone and myself, I’ve done my utmost to resolve the issue, regardless of my opinion of the person. It’s turned a few enemies into friends, and it’s shown people that yes, I do mess up and I’m not perfect. But I will always fight to make things right. In conclusion (my English teacher would hate me for using that transition), if there are a few things for you to take away, it’s these:
- You have a reputation, whether you like it or not.
- A reputation is something not to be ignored, but to be aware of, valued, and utilized.
- A good reputation built by many good actions may be ruined by one bad action.
- If you are intentional about your actions and amending your mistakes, it will be easier to fix your reputation when it breaks.”