Monday, March 2, 2015

How to Get People to Take You Seriously


Do you ever worry that you have a lot to offer the world, if only people would bother to take you seriously?

Of course you do. Everyone does. 

The good news is that getting people to take you seriously might be easier than you think. Just implement the following steps, and in no time at all, you'll have the world lining up to collect the pearls of wisdom dribbling from your lips.

How to Get People to Take You Seriously:

Step One: Complain that Nobody Takes You Seriously.

The good news is that this tactic almost always works. The better news is that you'll earn all of the benefits of respect without ever actually having to expend any energy doing something remarkable. Two birds, one stone.

In the event that this step fails to produce the desired results, proceed to Step Two.

Step Two: Tear Down People Who Have Succeeded Unjustly. 

It's really frustrating when the world passes you over in favor of lesser lights. To make the best of a bad situation, work to convince the world that they've gotten it all wrong and that you are more deserving of attention and praise than anyone else.

This is a very effective tactic, but in the strange case you find it less than successful, move on to Step Three.

Step Three: Invest Your Time and Energy in Accomplishing Something Noteworthy. 

If all else fails, you could always fall back on actually doing something important. It may take a long time, and it may lead you to be misunderstood; it may exhaust you and cause your teeth to decay and your hair to fall out; you might never succeed, and your genius might not be fully recognized in your lifetime, but at least - in the end - you would have a shot at leaving behind something lasting, something that operates beyond yourself.

Plenty of real-live geniuses were never taken seriously; fortunately for us, they didn't let that stop them. They just went right on doing what they were doing, "serving the work," as Dorothy Sayers would put it.

Perhaps it would be prudent here to remind ourselves that God didn't make us so that we could be taken seriously. He made us that we could learn to take him seriously, and one of the ways in which we show that we take him seriously is the way in which we approach our work.

Let's refer back to Dorothy Sayers on this:
Let the Church remember this: that every maker and worker is called to serve God in his profession or trade--not outside it. ...The only Christian work is good work well done. Let the Church see to it that the workers are Christian people and do their work well, as to God: then all the work will be Christian work, whether it is church embroidery or sewage farming. 
If anyone would know anything about this, it would be Dorothy Sayers, a woman whose contributions to theology were taken seriously in a time when women weren't taken seriously about anything much, especially not in matters of the Church. 

Her words carry weight not because she was a woman or a clever writer, but because they are true and biblical. 

Sayers invested herself in the proper understanding and communication of Truth. That was her work, and she did it in such a way that she couldn't not be taken seriously.  

The bottom line is this: whatever task you find to do today, take it seriously. That attitude will please God, and if your work is such that he can take it seriously, I'd call that a job well done.

* * * *

Keller, Timothy. Every Good Endeavour: Connecting Your Work to God's Work. New York: Dutton, 2014.

O'Connor, Flannery. Mystery and Manners: Occasional Prose. New York: Farrar, Straus and Grioux, 1970. 

Sayers, Dorothy. Letters to a Diminished Church: Passionate Arguments for the Relevance of Christian Doctrine. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2004. 

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