One of the most damaging, and most believed lies, is that respect is due to you for sole virtue of being alive. Reminding yourself to breathe every few seconds doesn’t entitle you to anything.
There are seven billion people on Earth. Every one of us with a varying degree of contribution to the world.
Most people sit somewhere in the middle, with a mediocre, forgettable contribution, if not absolutely nothing to offer.
Yet, we want, and think we deserve the same respect as world leaders and industry tycoons.
Respect is killed by entitlement
You are not somehow entitled to anything, be it praise, money, admiration or love. The notion is simply ludicrous. No one owes you a thing.
Everything you can be proud to have is earned through work and hardship.
Living with the mindset that you deserve success and support, without doing anything to move towards it, will only get you frustration and a bitter awakening the day you realize that you are on your own.
As much as you want to believe that who you are puts you somewhere above the rest of humanity, you have to resist this illusion.
You are no one until you create value in the world.
Respect is earned through action
Showing up, believing in the right things, displaying opinions, doesn’t entitle you to respect.
You can only earn respect by doing deeds of value. Creating, making, helping, healing, saving. Making the lives of others better through your actions will entitle you to some respect.
Hoarding knowledge and consuming entertainment will not.
There are a million valid ways to earn respect, but that’s the point: you have do do something of value.
Respect is maintained trough consistency
It’s very hard to earn respect, and extremely easy to lose it. Past merit does not compensate for your current empty life.
There’s no worst feeling than to have earned and lost merit. Once you have built yourself up to the point where you are respected, you have to keep doing the things that have brought you where you are. Don’t coast on past success. Move forward, do more, not less.
Don’t allow yourself to fall back on inaction, nor allow yourself to turn your respect into a platform for irreputable deeds.
It starts with yourself
Are you the best version of yourself you could be? Are you living up to your potential?
If you wake up every morning with the nagging reminder that there is something you should be doing and you aren’t, it will show on your face. People sense that.
No one respects someone who can’t respect themselves.
It’s up to you to do whatever is necessary to make the nagging go away. Not by ignoring it, but by listening, and taking it to heart.
Whatever it is, endure the hardship of doing it NOW, rather than suffer the regret of saying “I should have done it” in 10 years.
Value begets value
When you offer value to the world, you will earn value back, it’s how it works. Nothing is free, and everything has its price, including respect.
But, once you start creating, you enter a self-fulfilling cycle. Everything you do comes back to you with increasing interest. Your motivation will gradually increase, and you will want to do more.
Every time you add value, you become better, and can in turn add more value, with more rewards for yourself and the lives you improve.
Don’t wait for respect to come knocking on your door. Bring it to yourself by doing something meaningful.