How would YOU like to be remembered?
It’s amazing sometimes where inspiration finds you. For those of you who write regularly, you know that there are days when it “works” and days where you couldn’t beg your way into a coherent and cohesive article. But then, suddenly, out of the blue, there it is: the “A ha!” Well, this time, I can thank one of my Facebook friends, “Beth” (I won’t reveal her whole name or FB profile in case she is keeping it private, but email me if you’d like to connect), for the inspiration. Just two days ago, here’s what she shared on FB:
Today I shall behave … as if this is the day I will be remembered.
~ Dr. Seuss
Wow…Dr. Seuss said THAT? I mean, yes, I think he’s brilliant with all the great things he has written (I mean, really, who can get past “Green Eggs and Ham”), and he was very in-tune with how to connect with kids — and adults– but this isn’t something I would have expected from the professional “silly guy.”
It’s profound wisdom, really. Think about it: if you KNEW someone was looking at you…right here, right now…how WOULD you conduct yourself? Would you be yelling at your child? Dressing down an employee? Belittling a spouse or friend? Would you lie? (allright, we KNOW plenty of people DO lie on camera, but I truly believe they think no one KNOWS they are lying…let’s not go THERE, ok?) Would you wear your rattiest, most disheveled clothes, hair unkempt, teeth unbrushed? Generally I think most of us would say, no.
If we KNEW we were being watched, being recorded, being “remembered” we would take the time to put on a good face, pay attention to our appearance, and strive to be caught in the best light possible. Most people DO want to be remembered in a positive light. We hate, for example, to be photographed making silly faces or when our hair is messed up and makeup not done. Heck, I know women who will refuse to go to even the grocery store without full war-paint, much less allow themselves to be “captured” in any permanent form.
So the point is, why let ourselves be caught behaving with any less dignity, respect or poise than we’d want to be caught merely “looking?” One of the things I frequently tell both young students and professionals is that you have to be conscious of your appearance, both how you look on the outside as well as how you are behaving. Why? Well, because you just have to assume that, at any given moment, someone is watching you. And, if so, what impression do you want them to get? A positive one, or one that says, “Hey, I’m out of control, don’t give a rip how I look/seem/sound like. You don’t like it. Tough!” ? If your answer is, “Heck, I don’t really care…” then let me ask you this question: what images get plastered on YouTube, local news, national media more often: images of stellar, shining moments or the “major fail” kinds of incidents?
‘Nuff said? I guarantee you that if you are doing something that will come back to haunt you, there’s a seriously good chance that someone will be observing it. And, the worse the incident and the bigger the crowd, the more people who will see you at a moment you’d like to forget. It’s Murphy’s Law, Part II. If you want a really visual example, think about Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction,” or Michael Jackson dangling Baby “Blanket.” Do you hear “Martha Stewart” without remembering her insider trading issues, Tiger Woods’ indiscretions, or, most recently Anthony Weiner’s repeated press conferences denying his Twitter “mishaps?” Regardless these people’s talent, their influence, what accomplishments they’ve had…what sticks in your mind, even if you try to recall the positives?
We are all human, and we all do things we wish we hadn’t. But, if we were more conscious of what’s going on around us, we might make choices that would put us in a better light rather than showcase us at our very worst or at least at our “less than optimal.” To channel Dr. Seuss, if the LAST thing you ever did was X, is this how you wanted to be remembered? We have a great deal of influence to ensure that the answer to THAT question is “yes” even if there’s no one to see it when we have our last moment. Because, frankly, in this day and age…you just never know who’s watching.