Conventional wisdom has always touted how respect is difficult to earn and easy to be lost. We hear about how we have to be upright, just and remarkable in order to earn respect from others.
However, if this is the case, how do we explain the influence and following that cult leaders, kingpins, or even perpetrators of genocides like Hitler gain? Was it power, fame, or charisma that these individuals possess that helped them earn the respect of their followers?
Having thought through these questions over the pasts years, here's my opinion on how individuals gain respect from others.
How Respect is developed.
Think back to the schooling environment with which we are all familiar, I am sure you will remember some students who are outstanding for reasons beyond their academic/curricular achievements — the troublemakers. To the school management, these individuals are major pricks whose sole motivation is to create trouble and gather attention. However, to their fellow schoolmates, these guys are like the cool kids, the antiheroes who have earned some form of respect from the student population.
While we may agree that the respect that the students have for their heroic peers is different from the respect that they have for their teachers, we have to agree that there is some form of respect regardless and of which interests me to dwell deeper to decipher the root factor that inspires respect in others.
My personal conclusion to the cause of all forms of respect stems from the ability (of the said individual) to accomplish something which the self finds difficult to accomplish.
(testing out the Quotation format. Pardon this shameless self-quote)
Applying this perspective on how respect is earned through the accomplishment of what others find challenging, it explains why those with major achievements (war veterans, founding fathers/mothers, philanthropists, etc) as well as those who go against the law (supposedly a challenging ordeal) are able to gain much respect from people.
How to earn the Respect
At this point in time, it may seem like we need to accomplish major feats in order to be successful in gaining the respect of others. I would like to point out that there are numerous "areas of difficulties" which every individual face and often, these are present in our day-to-day life. This is why we respect people who are:
consistent (we all know how hard it is to sustain motivation),
determine (grit is one of the determinants of success),
composed (performing under stress),
giving (able to take care of others when we are pretty much struggling ourselves),
knowledgeable (all those time and effort put into gaining that wisdom and experience),
humble (it is common to boast) and
has integrity (back to being consistent with one's values).
Lastly, I will just like to add that while we often seek to gain recognition from people around us, I think the most important factor is to develop our self-respect. As I have previously shared on the importance of managing one's ego, it is interesting that we DO develop our self-respect the same exact same as what we have discussed above. If we allow ourselves to always take the easier way out of challenges and stay in our comfort zone, we will soon find life to be monotonous and uninspiring, and eventually, we loose respect for ourselves.
if we constantly seek to grow our respect for ourselves, then I am sure soon, others will follow suit.
A little unconventional but when one can achieve something deemed difficult/challenging, inevitably he/she gain some form of respect.