During engineering, I was so inspired by Stanley Milgram’s ‘Six Degrees of Separation’ that I wrote handwritten letters praising myself consistently and handed them over to people of first-year junior batch. They were to send to someone who they thought would know me and so on until the letter reached me back. It so happens that the concept of ‘Six Degrees of Separation’ worked really well, but a unique thing happened. These freshmen year students were new to the entire system and place. Their innocent minds got primed, and I accidentally created a striking image in their eyes for me. I could have just sent blank envelopes but human-mind!
When I read Daniel Defoe’s works every time, I’m able to relate to his story so well. Often people just believe anything and everything, even if it’s not first-hand information. They don’t even seek the truth or facts. In this attention economy, this is even truer. We drool over the lives of others, which is essentially they communicating a part of their lives to us through social media. Also, the world is becoming a much smaller world because of social media.
Gossip takes no time to travel across geographies nowadays. It’s true if you’re not being gossiped about, then you’re not famous or someone who people find interest in. Then also it must be positive gossip. While I reflect back, I see that for a claim to leadership, power, and authority, gossip creates a channel of medium for communicating your narratives.
What worries me the most is just like one could send across positive messages and narratives, one could send extremely negative messages or gossip. Will it end up destroying the person? Even when they are sincere, consistent, and genuine in their entire projection of leadership reputation. How could leaders prevent this? Is it possible that leaders could completely be in control and ensure such events don’t occur at all?
“You can only be jealous of someone who has something you think you ought to have yourself.”
But jealousy and envy is human nature, and if one decides to ignore these signs, then you could be killed like Caesar. This is a big dilemma that I face every day. Is it that I’m insecure? I don’t know! But would be happy to hear your thoughts and any mental model or framework that would help. Thank you!