Last night at dinner, a former colleague and now a successful entrepreneur, mentioned how people were spending dollars to buy Respect Points to win again their enemies in the Facebook wars. The term ‘respect point’ stuck to my mind and I slept wondering about the idea of earning respect through dollars. But if not dollars then what?
In my dream I saw a princess who was lost, and was trying to convince a crowd of her royal status. The crowd demanded some proof. They expected her to do something extra ordinary – something that people of their status generally can’t do. She sang and danced to no avail. Finally her juggling trick of tossing multiple apples rescued her and she was escorted to her palace. So is it an extraordinary capability that earns us respect?
Perhaps yes. Throughout the history, men have been equating the supernatural phenomena with godly powers. The powers, they think, bring good and avert evil. So does it mean that respect is a utilitarian concept and one will only be respected for greed or fair? Does it apply to all? I think while respect would come in different forms, there is one common ingredient: the promise of providing and/or protecting.
So as a marketer or social mobilizer, one may find different standards of respect in different social setups, depending on their needs and status. The standards can range from wealth to wisdom, and power to passion. And understanding of these standards would help connect one better and faster with the people.
Is there one sure way of gaining respect? Again the answer is ‘Yes’; compassion and selflessness. All those that I know of who were trusted and followed by masses exhibited these qualities. And examples are countless: Abdus Sattar Edhi in Pakistan, Mother Teresa in India, Nelson Mandela in Africa, Martin Luther King Jr. in United States and the list goes on and on. These people earned the respect points by trading in the comforts of status quo. And that is probably the currency we need to trade in.