The appetite for ‘known’

- Francis J. Kong - The Philippine Star

I was in a domestic airport waiting to board a local flight. I was prepped to go to one of our premier cities in the south to perform a scheduled whole day speaking event. While seated outside a small eatery, I kid you not, I saw a young lady right across me taking a selfie with her smart phone for the longest time.

 I tried counting the different poses she took, and my last count reached 19! Nineteen selfie shots in different poses.She was probably looking for the best shot for her profile picture for her Facebook page. Things like these are not uncommon these days.

This got me thinking. Do you call this vanity? I would not pass judgment on the girl. One thing for sure was that with social media being so pervasive in our culture, it is certain that so many people have developed an appetite for being known.

I post comments on my Facebook pages and once in a while, there will be one or two nasty reactions--complete with cussing and cursing--against my comments, and to be frank, these comments never made sense to me.

While others would thank me for the comments they found to be useful and helpful, these nasty comments were so out of sync with my posts that it got me curious. I opened the profile of the person, and voila….he announced to his own friends and followers that he violently disagreed with me and that I was so “clobbered” with his argument that I could not retort. I guess this was his way of wanting to be known.

There are people who would express their appreciation, there are those who would want to clarify issues, and there are those who would ride on the platform so that they can be known.

This is an appetite that many people develop.

One thing about an appetite is that if you feed it, it grows and, it is never fully satisfied.

There is an innate desire within us to be known.

You can never hear “I have enough friends, followers and mentions; my circle of friends is large enough; I sold enough books. I have enough seminars and speaking invitations.”

It is not wrong to have this appetite, but when it gets too big and uncontrollable, then you become self-centered.

 You may be thinking that you don’t have this problem, but I can assure you that this can creep on you so quietly, and one day it defines you.

 You make a presentation and while you are speaking, your mind is asking questions.

“Are they really listening to me?”

“Is my boss texting or taking notes?”

 â€œDo these people find my presentation boring or do they have an emergency?”

 â€œCouldn’t they just listen to me for a few minutes when I spent hours of preparation for this presentation?”

This appetite is within us.

 Politicians crave this. Show business people long for it. Even you and I are not exempt from this.

 I hate this craving, but it creeps up on me.

 â€œI thought they said 250 people are in the audience. Why are there only a hundred?”

“Why is the sound system so bad?”

“Why is there no one to escort me to the auditorium?”

“Don’t they know who am I?”

Before I know it, the feeling of entitlement begins to take over my being.

Applause is intoxicating. Praises and compliments can be addicting.

Over the years I have processed this thought carefully and concluded that the best way to resist this unhealthy appetite is to simply cultivate a healthy sense of amnesia. I thank my clients and the audiences for being gracious and quickly move on to prepare for the next work. Then I consider how to improve on the last one.

I remind myself that not every speaker deserves an audience, and that apart from God, I can do nothing.

Focus on what we can do to serve and parry the desire to satisfy the appetite to be known.

It is a constant struggle and we are works in progress.

But then again, feeling appreciative and thanking my clients for considering me takes off the focus on myself, at least, for a while so that I would not fall prey to wanting to be “known.”

(Francis teams up with renowned speaker and author Krish Dhanam on May 15 in a whole day seminar entitled Achieving Peak Performance at the EDSA Shangri-La Hotel. For further inquiries contact Inspire at 09158055910 or call 632-6310912 for details.)











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