A man is known by the company he keeps. Anon
Just look around and see how we pass judgment on people around without ever knowing them. In most cases we base it on their mere appearance and personality and unconsciously we also give a lot of credence to the type of people with whom they are seen moving around and interacting extensively. In effect, our perceptions about people are largely dependent on physical appearance and physical company that one keeps. While it is quite possible that we may be wrong in our initial assessment and discover that the individual is made up of much more than just the outward appearance our initial assessment ahs a large bearing on how we interact with the person later on.
In the 70’s for example, anyone with long hair and flowery clothes was broadly described as a hippy and anyone who associated with these people was perceived to be cool by their peers but viewed with disdain by the society at large. Today the same people following similar trends are either cool or geeks and seen as a breed apart who merely march to a different drummer. Funnily enough most people would think that geeks and cool techno savvy people are brilliant but at the same time they wouldn’t really want their own children or siblings to be influenced by these geeks. They would rather that have their kids and siblings follow the straight and narrow path that is the family tradition or the societal norm. It is human nature to rebel against norms and confines and it is also human nature to view rebels as social pariah’s who are forever stretching the boundaries of convention and customs. Obviously anyone who is seen as associating with such a crowd is inviting trouble and the wrath of the majority who view them with disdain.
In most formal settings there is a social hierarchy and pecking order that is determined by the social status of the people around. There are no fixed norms or clear cut boundaries but by and large the social order is based on financial muscle, perceived social standing and power play. There are of course some incongruent elements who are thick skinned and shameless enough to ignore the social rules and by stealth or cunning attempt to be seen in the company of those on the highest pecking order. The hangers on around politicians or the entourage that accompany film stars and high flying business men are ample evidence of the crazy to be seen in the right company. They thrive on portraying themselves as close to the seat of power for the general perception is that those seen with the high and mighty are influential, powerful and useful.
There are two outstanding examples of how each of us is deeply influenced and is easily influenced by the need to be seen with the right company. The craze of people to be seen with celebrities who will never ever know them or recognize them again is not just a fad but an expression of our urge to be seen with the extraordinary. Sportsmen, actors and writers are among the most sought after celebrities. The second example pertains to the new age social networking trend where a look at our friends list reveals a lot about ourselves and the company we prefer. Our preferences for certain blogs of celebrities and following the posts of celebrities/ high flying individuals on twitter etc. are also pointers to our need to cozy up to power, status and social visibility.
Remember: Go to Heaven for the climate, Hell for the company. Mark Twain
- List out 3 individuals who are still alive who you would like to meet in person if the opportunity arises. Now note down the reasons you want to meet these people and the line of interaction you would ideally have with them.
- Make a list of the types of people you will never associate with. Now make a list of people who you would love to associate with. Now check and jot down at least 3 things you love about your current friends and at least one irritant in them.
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