Over the weekend, I had a conversation with my mentor, and he mentioned in passing a conversation with a common acquaintance(Say Mr. XYZ) from the past. When I worked more than ten years ago with this acquaintance, I wasn’t known for my present corporate skills and was more of a technical guy. This Mr. XYZ was surprised that I was doing what I was doing and said something about being cautious with me.
My mentor gave me the benefit of the doubt of why Mr. XYZ thought so, and what my thinking was then(which I shared with my mentor), I wasn’t branding or marketing myself well beyond what my role was, and I never made my aspirations vocal. Since then, many things have changed, including jobs, domains, etc., and over the past few years, I have consciously projected myself better and see visible changes for the better.
What prompted me to write this post is the constant cycle of trying to portray what you want people to see you as. This struggle is real in my view.
People from your past always assume you are still the same.
Even friends and family carry the bias long after you have evolved.
If you were short-tempered or impatient during the initial years of your career, you are considered to be the same — at the slightest trigger or semblance of that trait.
If people from your past know that a particular version of you no longer exists, what can you do?
Your evolution(or transformation) is for you, and you can make an effort to live by that. You may not be able to make people understand.
Your past is your cross to bear, but it doesn’t have to be heavy. It is in how you treat it.
Whatever may be the case, perceptions don’t change, and whether or not that changes(by your effort or by people’s cognizance) shouldn’t matter.
Human Beings are a precarious kind. They latch on to what they feel like, based on the situation. Perceptions tend to be used as a crutch, and you cannot dictate how they use them.
What can you do?
You can do nothing, or you should do nothing. If you do something to change their views, you might either be successful or otherwise. In the process, you are visiting the past and trying to re-affirm you are not that person anymore.
BUT why should you even try to change their views?
Even if you are meticulous or thorough in bringing a change of perception about you in a few, there will always be other people. So be it!
Live the life you have evolved to now, look forward to growing further. If people want to associate you with the past, then let them be there in the past. They are not critical to your present and, more importantly, may not be of consequence to the future as well.