According to the famous naturalist, David Leslie William Sheldrick MBE, the three essentials of life for mammals are identity, stimulation and security Business/International trade. But for many people today, creating and fostering an aura, a perception of importance seemingly ranks above these three critical elements.
So much so that almost nothing is off-limits in their quest to achieve recognition; to be considered indispensable; to be seen in the right places; to be on the A-List; or be invited to the right social, business and political events.
Amidst all of this activity and maneuvering it is evident that there are different types of people vying for the honour, the recognition of being important. Obviously there are those who need no introduction, for they are important; there are those who were important, but now aren’t; those who want to be important, but aren’t; and of course, those who simply aren’t important.
Of course, no discussion on this matter would be replete without some discourse on the very meaning, the understanding of what is importance. While most dictionaries will expound on importance using such words as dominant, foremost, eminent or renowned, it should be understood that importance will mean different things to different people.
To some, importance will be the accumulation of wealth, or political power whether at organizational or Governmental level; to others it may mean elevation to a position of recognition or honor in a particular field, perhaps literary, artistic, sports, politics or business; and to another important group it may amount to demonstrating integrity or fidelity in their families or businesses.
In all this there is a clear distinction between legitimately promoting our skills and capabilities or developing a great CV, verses simply blowing our own trumpet in an egotistical way.
To this end Dame Margaret Thatcher enunciated an important truth or principle when she noted that if we have to tell people we are important, then most likely we are not; more likely we are merely imposters, pretenders, people masquerading as something we are not.
In our times of easy and cheap mass communication and media leverage it is so tempting for people to disseminate their own message of self-importance, regardless of the voracity of those claims.
Regardless of the self-promotion medium used we should understand that, for instance, having thousands of Facebook or Twitter followers might create a perception or illusion of importance, but it does not automatically equate to being important. Popular maybe, but not necessarily important.