On Being Relevant


I am the Expert. I know all. Come to me and build my reputation! (Photo credit: “Expert.” by Pete Prodoehl)

Read an interesting article yesterday about being relevant.

What the heck’s that supposed to mean?

Well, according to the editor of this article, from “The A$$et,” a weekly financial newsletter (still free, always free!), it states that you are continuing to improve in your craft and your reason for doing what you do. That you stay informed, aware of new aspects of whatever it is you’re into, put yourself out there as an expert (I don’t feel you really need to be considered an expert to be relevant…), earning a good reputation (again, I don‘t feel this really should be an organic consideration to this particular discussion), and that you have your own style (again, is this really a requirement for relevance? Sounding CorporateSpeak to me!). The article also mentioned that while you may be aware of all the “new gadgets” (or services, I add) out there, you don’t feel the need to actually use them, buy them, or spend tons of time on things like social media or the Internet. That you “…self-filter out some of the crap,” so you can focus upon what’s important.

These I heartily agree with!

To me it does seem you do do some of the above…staying aware and engaged. Filtering through the current of life to take what you need, and pass on the rest. But you’re aware of this stuff. Engaged in what’s going on. Perhaps these are my two defining definitions. I don’t feel one needs to position themselves as “experts” and “advance reputations,” though these might, indeed, manifest themselves later on as a natural progression from the individual’s actions…but to say they have to organically be part of the definition of “being relevant”…no, I have to disagree. Again, this sounds “corporate,” if you ask me, where these people already have their heads (and egos) in the clouds. Outcomes are not the same as requirements.

In any events, the article also had some good tips on relevance:

  • Evolve—of course, this has to happen! For the most part, I feel this cannot not happen; barring mental aberrations, I don’t see how the average human cannot evolve going through life…so I really don’t see this as a necessary element to “being relevant,” so much as being human.
  • Get familiar with technology—in today’s world this does seem like the “coming thing,” so, yeah, I can see this as an element of “being relevant.”
  • Learn to adapt—yes, to be relevant, you do have to go with the flow to be aware and be engaged. I get this. If you don’t, you’re not going to be interested in what’s going on, and stagnate.
  • Pay attention to your health—no, I don’t see this as a requirement. Think of all the nerdy geek-kind out there who are quite engaged and aware and all-knowledgable about any subject. Many are not healthy, because they don’t spend any time being healthy, because they’re always doing whatever it is they’re “being relevant” in! Disagree with this element!
  • Be informed—obvious element for “being relevant.”
  • Engage people younger and older than yourselfhmmmm, maaaybeee…but not necessarily. In today high-tech world, no one really has to interact (“engage”) anymore (if you don’t count blogs, articles, and the like). We can get all our information from social media, news feeds, well, the INTERNET. In a pre-Interent world, I’d agree with this, but not today. Look at the lack of interpersonal skills around us, today. The lack of manners the rudeness. I feel this stems from not only poor upbringing, but also from lack of meaningful, face-to-face interaction (“engagement”). Were we truly interacting (“engaging”) more on a face-to-face level, I think there would be far better manners. Now this statement also doesn’t define how the younger and older interact, which could be through social media/the Internet, so, point taken.
  • Gain knowledge from successful people—this should include all people, not only successful ones. Again, this seems like CorporateSpeak. Why should this one element be singled out? If one were truly being “relevant” this would be done as a matter of course, and would not need to be singled out as a specific “being relevant” element.
  • Crystallize your own vision—what does this have to do with being relevant? It has to do with goal setting. Being relevant is about being engaged and aware of what’s going on around you, I don’t see how setting a “vision” is an organic element of “being relevent.” Again, CorporateSpeak!
  • Live forward—yes, can see this. If you’re always living in the past, you’re not “engaged and aware” of the present…nor the future.
  • Don’t think you know everything—goes without saying, though many get “Big Heads” when “being relevant,” in that they think they do know it all and have heard and seen it all, since—in theory—the Relevant Person is supposed to have seen or heard it all! Catch-22!

I think these are great guidelines in “being relevant,” but do think this has some CorporateSpeak in it, having been designed, perhaps, by corporate execs, who I really feel do lose touch with Common Human reality, in their rarefied life of privilege. But it isn’t a bad structure to follow. I, certainly, do not know it all, but try to apply principles of common sense to everything I see and hear, and reading this article just hit me in the way that I’ve tried to present, here, so feel free to point out something I may have missed, concerning my take on things!

But, whatever you do take away from this, remain engaged in life and aware!

4 Responses to “On Being Relevant”

  1. 1 Karen Albright Lin November 8, 2013 at 9:45 am

    • Gain knowledge from successful people—this should include all people, not only successful ones. Yes…indeed, we can learn a lot from those who don’t have what our society calls “success”… even if it is what we don’t want to do and why.

  2. 3 blackcatpratt November 8, 2013 at 2:17 pm

    Sometimes I think I’m trying to do my best to become IRRELEVANT! :D OK, maybe not wholly, but I agree with you on the CorporateSpeak nonsense. Drives me berserk. I just want to live fully!

    • 4 fpdorchak November 8, 2013 at 4:28 pm

      I’m torn on the topic, sometimes. Sometimes I just wanna live my life without all the hype, the blog posts, the social media, but other times, I feel “in tune” with it and those I interact with. I guess, if you’re gonna be relevant, you gotta interact with it. As I’ve said before, if I wasn’t a writer, I wouldn’t dive into all this, but the need to communicate, to write, is strong (so far…). But, I yearn for the days of my teenage Grunge Attire and being able to once again wander the woods unhindered nor fettered by the problems of the world! :-]

      Another question: just how important IS being “relevant”?!

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