About two months ago, I wrote the first part of this topic. I did not know at the time that I would have a cause to write another part of it but here it is. If you have not read the first one, click here to do so.
When people talk about their most embarrassing moments, I always get lost in the conversation for lack of any experience or better still, any significant one in that common conversational topic. The reason is simple. It’s hard for you to find me in an embarrassing situation. I detest it. I consciously avoid embarrassment like I avoid approaching a lady I do not know on the street (except for ‘aro‘ purposes in University days in Zik Hall 😂😂), like I avoid pestering a lady for attention, like I avoid leading praise and worship session anywhere outside my private room ( I don’t remember follow-up songs and I think I am tone-deaf 😂😂).
In a similar vein, countless times, I have found myself under pressure and tension for people close to me not to get embarrassed. When a friend or colleague is standing in a position where he has to deliver a speech or make a presentation, my heart does not leave my mouth until he or she is done and gives a great performance. This was always my lot during my public speaking involvements in University of Ibadan. Even when I was part of the preparation process of the speakers, an air of unease would still swirl round about me during the delivery. It was worse if a speaker observed a deliberate pause but the pause was becoming unnecessarily long.
However, most times, I have come to realise that my self-induced pressure and tension is needless and it is just a sheer pill for another person’s good health. These people neither fail nor get embarrassed because they are assured and well-grounded in what they say or do. This is the power of content.
It is however necessary to distinguish between ‘situation-content‘ and ‘expert-content‘. Situation-content describes when a person is not well-grounded in an area but has to conduct an extensive study or make an in-depth research for the purpose of a particular occasion or situation. For instance, for the purpose of delivering a lecture or making a presentation or offering an opinion on a subject before an audience.
Expert-content on the other hand, as the name implies, describes the expertise of a person in a particular subject who out of training, formal or informal, has become well versed in that subject matter, or simply put, has become an ‘authority.’
People with quality content do not struggle. They do not overheat in their “content-zone“. They seamlessly deliver and perform to the awe of onlookers because they have tarried in the place of building. They perform ordinarily but it is accorded to them as extraordinary.
Unfortunately, we have placed prominence in the things that matter less. We have elevated the container above the content; the packaging above the package; external above internal. We now have more people interested in building abs rather than the brain; more people interested in painting faces rather than adorning the mind. It’s not that these things are wrong. But the caution is not to major in the minor.
As a personal adaptation of what a facilitator said at a virtual conference (The Refinery 1.0) I was part of yesterday, we think we are perceived in the following order:
1. How we appear
2. How we say what we say
3. What we say
However, in the long run we are assessed and judged worthy of respect in the following order:
1. What we say
2. How we say what we say
3. How we appear
Below is a piece I wrote sometime ago while thinking about something similar to this topic:
“Warn these young boys…
They are more interested in broadening their shoulders with hours working out than broadening their horizons in the place of thorough study;
They are more interested in starching their garments looking like bloated balloons than pursuing enduring personal development.
The world will accord them fickle respect from afar but give them a good dressing down on a closer look, if their words reek of mediocrity.”
Even the Bible says:
“What matters is not your outer appearance–the styling of your hair, the jewelry you wear, the cut of your clothes–but your inner disposition. Cultivate inner beauty, the gentle, gracious kind that God delights in.”
1 Peter 3:3-4 (TMB)
Ours is a generation of shallowness and superficiality. The few that focus on depth are those who will remain relevant in the long haul.
PS: If you have not read the first part where I shared a few points on how to build content, you can still read it here.