Do not accept the roles that society foists on you. Re-create yourself by forging a new identity, one that commands attention and never bores the audience. Be the master of your own image rather than letting others define it for you. Incorporate dramatic devices into your public gestures and actions—your power will be enhanced and your character will seem larger than life. [Read more…]
Look The Part, Play The Part Until You Become The Part
A man who is considered lowly will not be allowed, even by society itself, to amount to very much. If you are known for the wrong reasons early in life, that reputation will follow you like smell follows a garbage truck. It doesn’t matter how shiny it looks, or how well attired the garbage men are. The mere sight of the truck with its inscriptions will send hands and handkerchiefs to people’s noses even before the whiff hits them.
Garbage trucks cannot be camouflaged as anything but garbage trucks. Reputations and personas on the other hand can be ‘repackaged’. But it takes concerted effort. If you have created a ‘bad’ image for yourself knowingly or not, it’s difficult to re-emerge suddenly as someone else. The ‘Saul to Paul’ conversion requires supreme effort and consistency.
Overnight repackaged success on the way to Damascus
The man recreating himself must be ready to face initial distrust. Some people may even think him mad. And there is no short cut. Or is there? Let us examine the life of a typical pastor in Lagos.
One day, he’s an average Joe going about his business and his life. Maybe he’s married, maybe he has a girlfriend. Maybe he drinks at the nearby beer parlour. He goes to work late sometimes, and he flirts frequently with female staff in the office.
Suddenly, he’s a new man. He is in fact ‘born again’ he says. He cuts his beard and is now clean shaven. He drinks only water at social functions, and goes home straight on Friday night. His dressing has changed too. And rather than flirt with female staff, he chooses to advise and pray for them. No one will believe this man. At least not initially.
What if he’s consistent? He starts attending Bible classes, becomes a Deacon. And after 2 years, he sets up his own Church with a few financial backers. His repackaging is almost complete.
Make new friends, lose the old – one is silver and the other burnt coal
Old friends know you too well. And their cynicism can undo all the hard work you’ve put into your transformation. They are the hardest group to convince of your new life. Keep them at arm’s length. The transformed life is usually lonelier than the old life. Be ready.
You must therefore choose new friends with care. While you didn’t have much of a choice with old friends – same school, same neighbourhood and so on – now you can carefully select a group of ‘friends’ that will sell your new image better. New friends will see you for the new you.
Remember, packaging is hard work requiring deliberate action
Packaging requires cold calculated maneuvers, which will alienate people from your past. But as with any worthwhile endeavour, there is a cost. Packaging requires discipline. Once you display a lack of consistency, trust is immediately eroded. Trust is notoriously difficult to regain during a transformation exercise.
Finally, like our Lagos pastor, packaging requires learning. You must train yourself in the new image you want to sell. A writer must speak English properly. A pastor must quote copiously from the Bible. A wine merchant must know his wines.
Therefore, that you dress the part or look the part is not enough. You must learn the part and practice the part to be the part. It’s time for ‘new’ wine in a new bottle.