The (late) mystic, Osho had an interesting observation about humans’ exaggerated display of humility. He related an incident of a politician attending a rally where one speaker after another came up to the podium and obsequiously extolled the virtues of the chief guest. Then, the illustrious man himself rose to speak and spent a long time clarifying that he really was nobody, a mere servant of the masses, unworthy as the dust on the ground etc., etc. An upstanding citizen who could not tolerate this farce any longer jumped up and exclaimed, “Ah! Of all the speakers today, we finally have someone who is honest and speaks the truth!” The politician could not stomach this slight and berating the organizers for the public humiliation, stormed off the stage in a huff.
It is not unusual these days to receive “email blasts” from people one might barely know. The email is typically addressed to the sender himself, with all recipients “blind copied.” It draws the reader’s attention to some upcoming “,,, Person of the Year Award” for which the author seeks a nomination. The email beseeches the addressee to not only extend personal support, but also “take the trouble” to circulate the original email to friends / family / country cousins and urge them to extend their endorsements.
A few weeks later, another email from this person arrives stating, “I am so humbled to be nominated for this year’s prestigious …. Person of the Year Award. Please vote for me by using the link below.” Other “supporters” of this person might follow this up with their own emails urging you to vote for this truly deserving and outstanding “member of the community.”
And finally, we receive an email informing us that “it is truly a surprise and a humbling experience for me to be honoured as a …. Person of the Year.” The awardee reiterates that while not deserving of this recognition, he is most grateful that family / friends / country cousins considered him worthy of their support which got him the Award, thus “raising the profile of our community.”
Interestingly, random instances of such behaviour at one time are now becoming more commonplace not just on social media but increasingly on “professional” sites like LinkedIn etc., as well.
Man (or, woman) as they say, is a social animal. We all need to feel accepted / wanted / loved / recognized. Daily rejuvenation is now derived by posting selfies and self-portraits in various dresses/poses, multiple times each day on social media sites. One feels “connected” when “friends” respond by “liking” the post or adding comments like “Looking hot, Bhabhi (brother’s wife)”, “Awwwww”, “So cute”, “You rock, gorgeous” emoji, emoji, emoji!
And so, I will be honoured if you consider it fit to forward this blog’s link to your friends / family / country cousins and please, please, please urge them to promote my weekly drivel. If statistics reveal that site visits have increased beyond just my wife and my views, I will post a suitably “humbled and delighted” blog next week to thank those who have taken it upon themselves to pursue the literary pursuits of “an up and coming unknown author attempting to write in his non-native, alien language.”
As Abraham Lincoln remarked, “What kills a skunk is the publicity it gives itself.”
“Vo shoḳh apne husn pe maġhrūr hai ‘asad’
dikhlāa ke uss ko aa.ina toḌāa kare koī”
[That saucy (person) is (so) proud of her beauty, ‘Asad’
Displaying the looking glass, someone should break it (her arrogance / mirror)” – Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib
7 Replies to “Marketing (oneself)”
As the recipient of many such requests to “support my nomination” over the years, I am only too familiar with the practice you describe – and with what follows, even if the person making the request doesn’t actually win. For below the signature is appended the legend, “Finalist, Person of the Year Award 2017”! Oh, for a Ghalib who can hold a mirror up to this selfie-sufficient crowd.
Pankaj, you have hit the nail on the head. The best self-promotion is one’s work, I think. But in an age when posting selfies and counting “likes” from people one doesn’t even know takes up so much of one’s time, where’s the time for real work?
Dear Easwar and Shagorika
Welcome back! Missed your support and comments over the past few weeks. Thanks.
Spot on Pankaj !
Now I am worried, Should I ‘Like’ or comment on this post, which category would I be in? LOL
The concept of ‘Personal Branding’ has been severely over used by people who want to be promoted as experts, but on what subject? Why would an award recognise you for doing your JOB? That makes no sense.
Last few ‘winners’ were engineers/doctors/teachers/models who did their job, put food on the table for their family and bravo for doing that! But that in itself is hardly award worthy.
The awards should be focused in on what did the person do to make this country a better place. About volunteering. About mentoring. About thinking of others rather than self.
And now, I will quietly get off my box.
Well said, my friend! Appreciate your comments very much.