The Attitude Lounge by Kodwo Brumpon: Earning a Good Name


“Do a good deed and throw it into the sea.” – Egyptian Proverb

In a strange way, we all seek to learn something from others – and at least to be inspired by them. Thus, in the bulk of interactions the usual attitude is for people to look for examples to imitate. They come looking up to others. They come hoping that you have something good to offer them, not the other way round. So it could be that every interaction is an opportunity for you to present yourself in a manner that will earn you a good name. You should aspire to inspire, or you will dull their admiration for you. Almost all of us have experienced instances when the right display of attitude has stimulated esteem in us for the other person. The opposite is also true.

We do not hear this spoken much these days, but a while back people would often say “I want to make a good name for myself”. In fact, having a ‘good name’ was the ‘it’ thing. It was a quest for virtues and the bestowing of such goodness onto others. It was not surprising that parents and societal leaders endeavoured to make good names for themselves, and pushed those under their care to aspire likewise. It was this drive that led to many professions gaining instant dignity, because the individuals who worked in such displayed a lot of virtues. They were simply full of goodness.

Deep down, we all want an amiable atmosphere in our interactions and relationships wherein we can be ourselves without being judged. This expectation, stirred by what we are thinking – which is founded on our upbringing, shapes the way we perceive the other party’s attitude. Most often, we are looking for a trove of virtues to set our minds at ease for the interaction and its aftermath. It is such an aspiration that led to the adage “to be esteemed is better than silver and gold” from ages ago. Sadly, some persons did take advantage of the ‘good name’ concept – bruising egos and setting off alarm-bells in their trail. Their attitudes did not only dull admiration for themselves as individuals, but also had had a negative impact on society.

In the name of freedom, we have twisted the world into relativism and individualism; and ‘a good name’ has become taboo. Many are the people who see the long-suffering acquisition of virtues as an obstacle to growth and exercise of one’s potentials. They mistakenly perceive that it prevents individuals from learning and exercising their innate freedoms. Yet the truth is that true exercise of virtues does not stifle a person from growing. It does not take away freedom or creativity. Instead, the acquisition of virtues empowers an individual to mature holistically while shielding him or her from lack of prudence and failures in judgment.

This retreat from seeking a good name has mainly stemmed from our dwindling lack of faith that goodness always triumphs. We have been sucked into the psychology of popular media culture wherein that craziest stories are given the most coverage. In a race for viewership and listenership, the mass media has primed stereotypic conceptions about ‘a good name’ and subsequently influenced social stigma against it. They have characterised ‘good people’ as unimaginative, submissive, confined, antisocial, timid, and many other negative attributes. This has created the impression of good people having unenterprising perception. Thus, the bulk of people do not even realise that their daily freedoms are the result of sacrifices made by people who sought ‘a good name’.

It is about time we reinspired the ‘good name’ culture. Our fathers have always said that “it is not wrong to go back for that which you have forgotten or that which is good”. We can do it, but we must start with ourselves. Truth, beauty and goodness do not merely befall us. They come into being in the very act of us looking for them. They come when we go beyond indifferences and seek to treat others with love. They come from us seeking virtues and giving special consideration to the happiness and development of others when we make our decisions. They come from realising that living is not a competitive event but a collaborative effort. That we are all pieces of the puzzle, and our efforts should be focused on rounding our edges so that we can fit perfectly into our spots.

Seeking a good name will lead one to live a selfless life, full of trust and respect. And contrary to popular opinion, a selfless life is full of imagination and joy. People who seek a good name have the interests of others at heart. Their curiosity buds and blossoms, and they love others as much as they love themselves. Since we all know that no one hates their own bodies but rather we feed and look after them, so will one seeking a good name look after you and your interests. In the final analysis, we cannot force anyone to be good, but we can be good ourselves. And those who look up to us will have no option but to strive to be good too. When we can prove that our actions are for the greater good of society, and especially the greater good of people, then others will aspire to be good too.


Kodwo Brumpon is a partner at Brumpon & Kobla Ltd., a forward-thinking Pan African management consultancy and social impact firm driven by data analytics with a focus on understanding the extraordinary potential and needs of organisations and businesses, helping them cultivate synergy that catapults them into r strategic growth and certifies their sustainability.

Comments, suggestions and requests for talks and training should be sent to him at kodwo@brumponand

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