Wise Men and Fools

The man that considers himself wise doesn’t realize he is a fool, but the man that is wary of his ability to be foolish is a wise man indeed.

No matter where we are, we are constantly meeting people. Some we find instant respect for, others; instant disdain. How we percieve these people are affected in a number of different ways, ranging from the way that they hold themselves to the things that they wear. Sometimes people hinder their ability to be percieved in a good light because they are trying too hard.

Take, for example, a wealthy philanthropist. He has millions to his name and he is confronted with an option to give that money to an already established charity, or to start his own charity with his own name on it. When average people see the philanthropist create his own charity, they can easily recognize that his money could have been better spent if simply donated to a charity that already fulfills that purpose. There would not be as much start-up expenses or operational expenses to take away from the end goal. Anyone can recognize this as an act of goodwill, but there is clearly a more selfish motive behind the philanthropist’s charity: to broadcast him as a good person.

This fact is easily seen by average people that will inevitably judge the philanthropist negatively for it. The philanthropist is a good man, and people recognize that he is doing a good thing, but he will never be able to shake some aspect of selfishness in public opinion.

Likewise, in mentorship, if a leader proves themself to be a strong leader, then followers will think highly of them. Their high opinion can be reduced if the leader spends too much time establishing how strong a leader he is. Actions always speak louder than words, which is why when a leader or employer talks of their accomplishments or how they got to where they are today, it detracts from their image instead of enhancing it. When the same story comes from someone else, the followers will have a better opinion of their leader, because it sounds less like a gimmick.

However, the best example to illustrate the point would be Donald Trump. Trump is an immensely talented businessman and has amassed a fortune through trial, error and tenacity. However, there is a lot of public disgust toward him because of his openly self-focused life. Trump has popped in and out of politics, never actually running for office, but using the media to broadcast his views and opinions no matter how foolish they are. He has his own television show, in which the premise is that he can fire whoever he likes, whenever he likes, for whatever reason. He has a superiority complex that consists of him constantly trying to be superior to everyone else. He could be seen as a hero of the business world, but instead he is seen as a self-centred fool.

When it comes to people’s perceptions, whether you want to be seen as a hard-worker, a generous person, a smart person, etc. they will be positively influenced by what you do, and they will be negatively influenced by what you say to try to reinforce it.

All people have the ability to be wise, the trick is that they can’t say it.

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