Guard your reputation

“So much depends on reputation — guard it with your life” — Robert Greene

Expert tailors on London’s Savile Row craft bespoke suits for The City’s most powerful businessmen. On completion of a garment, these tailors do not require payment; in fact, asking clients for payment, even months later, is considered unsavory. That is because of the excellent social credit of the men who shop on Savile Row: their reputation is so strong that payment is guaranteed.

Your reputation significantly influences how people treat you: if your reputation is good, everything will be easier; if your reputation is bad, everything will be harder. Reputation affects your ability to qualify for credit, loans, obtain prime rates, climb social ladders, assume leadership roles, and be trusted. And when your reputation is tarnished, you suffer a tremendous blow; it is difficult, sometimes impossible, to rebound.

Therefore, if someone attacks your reputation, even slightly, assertively defend yourself and deny the accusation immediately. Restate what an excellent reputation you have, and that you intend to keep it. If you do not defend your reputation wholeheartedly, you signal to others that the accusation might be true.

Finally, always remember: defending your reputation is never about caring what others think of you — it is about protecting your external credence for strategic purposes.