All of us want to excel in life.
This is because when we excel, it means that we are successful. And success means being honoured, being respected and being in control. Being successful means being able to command a higher salary, driving a bigger car and working in more prestigious companies. It means living the high life, having the ability not only to socialise but also in being a socialite and increasing the opportunity of appearing or being quoted by the media. In another words, it means fame. In light of the fact that all of us being mere mortals, most of us will be susceptible to fame. In a world where there is a widening income gap (where the rich gets richer and the poor gets poorer ), who wants to fall on the lesser end of the income spectrum?
And over time, some of us begin to equip fame and success with being among the best. These individuals will began to look at acquiring materialistic possessions such as cars and houses. They began to change their friends and acquaintances to reflect their social status. They began to solidify ties with others who is able to cement their grip on fame and let go of those that does not further their ends to success. Such is the power of fame and success.
People with such a mindset will have a tendency of being among the best will inadvertently (either consciously or subconsciously) develop a “compartmentalisation” mindset, whereby they will segregate people that they know into categories and place different emphasis on them (keeping in contact more frequently with the rich and famous while neglecting the rest). This will-in turn-isolates them from others. Although these individuals will communicate well among the elites, they cannot consider themselves great communicators since they have failed to communicate with most of the people around them, which is often not due to circumstances but by choice.
Great communicators have seen through this fallacy and understand that regardless of how well they have developed their communication skills, it is useless if they only communicate well with individuals of their own choosing and not everyone. In short, they understand that the essence of communication does not lie in their ability to communicate as and when they want to but in the fact that they are able to communicate with everyone else. More importantly, almost all great communicators possess the ability to see one basic truth about humanity: all of us are equal in social status regardless of our family and financial background. Understanding this fact separates the great communicators from the mediocre. This is because with such an awareness, these communicators will develop humility over time and it’s usually humility that draws people to them. People like others who respect them, who cares for them and who either understand them or seek to understand them. And humility is the prescription, as a humble person usually fulfils the aforementioned criteria.
It is important to realise that that it is not only fruitless to pursue after success and fame (since they are transient in nature, with change as the only constant), there are also several dangers associated with them as well, as follows:
- Fame and success causes jealousy and this will seriously compromise one’s attempt to communicate with others. There’s also the challenge of sifting the sincere friends from the insincere ones
- Being famous draws a clear line between ourselves and others. Others might think twice before approaching you since it might imply a loss of privacy on their part
- We have to constantly put in a tremendous amount of effort to maintain the social status. And if we hinge our personal accomplishments on this status, our self-esteem might drop if we fail to maintain it.
It’s therefore interesting to note that those individuals who achieve fame and success on a long-term basis are those who have managed to live life with a great deal of humility and more importantly, to blend in with the crowd. They understand the abovementioned dangers and thus have often made efforts to steer clear of them by remaining humble. It’s quite an irony when you think about it because humble people usually keep a low profile when they communicate and thus they should have a lower chance of securing success for themselves, as compared to a more vocal individual who flaunt their strengths whenever opportunities arise. Nevertheless, the facts of life have shown us that this is not true. On the contrary, it’s the humble that will excel in life. Their quietness and acceptance of others are the ingredients that propel them to success. If we examine these factors more carefully, we can see an interesting pattern: Their quietness makes them great listeners and people love those who listen, and it’s their acceptance of others that in turn enables others to accept them and thus wants to help them. By accepting others’ eccentricities and idiosyncrasies, others are thus willing to do the same for us. And through these commonalities, we become the best of friends. And what do best of friends do? We help one another through the good times and more importantly, the bad.
This is human nature.
We are merely a mirror of others and others are merely a mirror of us.
So, don’t strive to be among the best.
Be among the rest.