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Vishal Ostwal

Make life worth living

What Staying in the Background Can Teach You About Work

Stay in the Background
You might have heard the word anonymous. The one which also means nameless, unknown, and faceless. This word isn’t much weird, but if you think more deeply about it, it is.
I’ve been curious about it. Almost always. To me, it represents a mystery. An untold story.

In my school, when I read the words such as Anon and Anonymous written below some short stories and poems in my textbooks, I often wondered about who those faceless people were.

At that time, before I knew the actual meaning of the word, I used to think that Anon was some really cool writer. When I read something with the word anon below it, I always thought “Wow! Anon is a cool writer.”

But as I grew up, I came to know that Anon was simply a name given to those “faceless people” not having an identity.

What it means to be a nobody

How painful it is to be nobody. To work as hard as you can and discover that nobody knows what you did. To create something  and let others take the credit for it. To hide yourself in the shadows when you’re the one on whom the spotlight should shine.

Yes, it can be painful.

Yet, there are people who put their blood and sweat in their creations. Who do something remarkable with their hard work and then hide behind the mask of anonymity. These people are sometimes those who are left or just  prefer to stay in the background.

Why do they prefer to stay in the background? Walk into their shoes and you’ll know.

Staying in the background isn’t always bad

  • One of the first thoughts which struck my mind when I saw the photos of freedom fighters in my history books  was, “Are these people all?  What about the rest?” After all, there were many other dedicated people who had sacrificed their lives for the country as well. Though nobody knows about them. Has their contribution become useless just because their faces don’t appear in my history books or because no one knows about them? Never.
  • On several occasions I’ve come to know about people who flaunt socially about how much they earn and make attempts to highlight themselves. They brag about the donations and try to build the base of their reputation on it. I also know some generous people who silently keep up their good work and donate without uttering a word about it to anyone. Is the contribution of the latter ones useless?
  • Then there are others, the ones like you and me who do little things to make the world a better place. Not everything we do is known. Though we keep on doing nice work. Do we cease to do good just because no one notices? We don’t.

Maybe you don’t always need to get noticed

Success isn’t about staying at the center of attraction, getting credit, or being praised for your work. Sometimes, what you do for serving people is far greater than the biggest achievements. There are thousands in the queue who are dying to get noticed, you don’t always need to be among them.

I wrote my first guest post which was about 1700 words, mailed it to the fellow blogger, and asked him to keep my name anonymous. Just because I wanted to walk my talk before I writing this post.

That post still shows ‘By – Guest contributor’ instead of my name. Maybe that post would’ve have sent me some new readers, or it could’ve spread.

But there was something which I realized by doing it – with a name or without it, we can always serve. Even now when I look at that simple post, I realize that even if I’m anonymous there, my work isn’t.

It’s not wrong to make attempts to get some attention. Better if that helps you achieve your dreams. But your desire for attention shouldn’t become an obstacle to your success. Keep your dreams and work above everything, because outcomes are a cheap way of measuring dreams.

What staying in the background can teach you about work

Ever saw a drama? There are the actors on the grand stage, dressed in beautiful costumes, saying all the witty dialogues and gaining everyone’s affection. In the end of the show they take away all the credit and praises.

What about the make-up man, the costume designer, the decorator and the cleaner? They celebrate in silence behind the curtains.

Their success isn’t defined by the applause which they never get, but rather by their contribution to their work. Same thing happens in movies. No one reads the credits.

Staying in the background makes you humble. It gives you an opportunity to peek from behind the backstage and see how others treat your work. In your heart, you know it was you who created something but didn’t get the credit.

However, when no one knows about you, outcomes don’t matter much to you, and you become more loyal to your work. You give away your craving for attention and praise. After that, you fall in love with your work and rediscover the reason why you had started in the first place.

Also, when you aren’t at the center of attention, you don’t take criticism as personal disgrace. Instead, you treat it as a feedback for your work and use it to improve yourself.

When you don’t get enough attention, you take yourself less seriously, become open to improvement, and treat your own work as you treat the work of others. Honestly, and without being partial towards yourself.

Conclusion

You don’t always need to be in the spotlight. Your work matters more than your aspiration of accomplishing something. Even when your efforts don’t get the necessary attention, they go on serving others.

For now, if you have a dream and your are working on it, then give up your craving for attention, praise and outcomes. Fall in love with what you do. Make attempts to get better at it. You’ll ultimately win all that you deserve.

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