Why Others do not Take us Seriously

Credibility is contingent on accountability

Photo by Ryan Franco on Unsplash

Whining is an attitude most humans outgrow as they enter adulthood.

Sooner or later, we all come to understand that survival is predicated not on self-pity but on grit and guts.

In other words, we survive thanks to our the ability to “embrace the suck”, learn from our failures, and take responsibility for our actions.

When coming of age, some of us also make a conscious choice to free ourselves from the shackles of parental and societal expectations. We decide to embrace all that life has to offer, go explore, and learn as much as we can about what it means to be a human in the world so we can forge our own path.

Curiosity is our driving force and creativity rides shotgun, leading us toward discovery and growth. Often, they catapult us into a rabbit hole of interestingness that ends up changing our life.

For better or for worse.

Experience is how we learn not just who we are but also what we’re capable of; experience is how we grow as humans, both individually and together.

And experience is how we improve and eventually master new skills. It isn’t simply born out of calling ourselves something fancy like “writer” and marketing ourselves like crazy for a few months.

Expertise isn’t a job title, much less one we decided to anoint ourselves with one morning because we felt like it.

And it starts with self-awareness. Without the discipline to push through the necessary discomfort of self-inquiry, we are as helpless as toddlers. And no, donning a suit or designer shoes or even having kids can’t substitute for cracking ourselves open and getting to know who we are.

But because many of us favor the path of least resistance and have grown quite lazy and entitled, we go the route of scapegoating. It is a lot easier to blame someone else than it is to take a long, hard look at ourselves and figure out where and how we messed up.

When you live in a culture that conditions you from birth to believe you’re the best in the world and only you matter, pushing back takes effort. For those who cannot face it, victimhood culture is the perfect cop out because there’s always someone to blame.

This, alas, is where some women let their inferiority complex cloud their judgment as they reflexively turn against men. Or as those with an almighty penis (for the penis is always talked about as if it were omnipotent) are collectively known, “the patriarchy.”

Way to let down every woman who has taken it upon herself to treat all humans as equals, sister!

Equality may not be a done deal yet but nothing is stopping us from behaving as if it were our birthright.

It starts with holding ourselves to certain standards, standards that reflect the world we’d like to live in.

Are you a woman tired of men going on about success and money? Then instead of imitating those you decry, why not do your part to reframe the societal conversation on success? Why not look at it through a lens that takes into account more intangibles? For example, how do humans still manage to forge deep, meaningful bonds in the age of curated appearances? Or how does the internet empower gullibility and greed and makes some of us grabby to a fault, regardless of gender?

Crying woe is me and going on about how life is unfair won’t help us gain the credibility we crave when we do nothing to advance equality, contributing nothing to the global narrative but more bias to be used as soundtrack in echo chambers.

Pointed fingers and enormous egos cannot build bridges.

And yet, we have this wondrous tool at our disposal called the internet, a megaphone and a publication all rolled into one.

So what will you do with it, fellow human? Harness its power to secure fame or fortune, or use it for the common good and our collective enlightenment?

Credibility isn’t a demand, it’s a reward.

Like money, only long-lasting and far, far more valuable; a fat bank account doesn’t necessarily equal respect, at least if the 45th POTUS is anything to go by.

How to hold ourselves accountable is one of the basic skills of adulthood. It means having the humility to shed solipsism and also take feedback on board, no matter how much it smarts. Feedback is the result of attention, something that makes earning a living online possible.

Never ever dismiss feedback.

If you write for a living, why not carry out an audit of your work to date and examine how you choose to present yourself? You could also look back at what message(s) you’ve been putting across, what voice you’re been using, and what tone you’ve chosen to deliver it.

This, in essence, is your personal brand, if commodifying yourself is how you view our shared humanness. While many posit some amount of personal advertising is unavoidable in an interconnected world, the most effective self-marketers are stealthy. They do not need personal slogans or taglines, they do not sell themselves aggressively nor do they ever demand recognition.

Because they don’t need to.

Their work simply speaks for itself; combined with the value it adds to the lives of others, it is the best advertising campaign ever.

And this is why their peers take them seriously, not because they hide behind limitations and circumstances but because they transcend them.

With grace and the humility of those who know the internet doesn’t owe them a living.

I’m a French-American writer, journalist, and editor living out of a suitcase in transit between North America and Europe. To continue the conversation, follow the bird. For email and everything else, deets in bio.

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