We are all being tracked.

Complete privacy is a thing of the past.

The best we can hope for is that we look good to the world.

Kate O’Neill, founder and principal of KO Insights, discussed this in a Dec. 21, 2014, column in The Tennessean newspaper in Nashville.

“We have the means to measure, by some proxy, how we live up to our intentions and how we impact others,” O’Neill writes. “The strategy we set today provides the framework for improvement tomorrow,” she says.

Our life trail will certainly show imperfections. It will show what we did right, what we did wrong. The question becomes: did we do better today than yesterday, and will we do even better tomorrow?

It’s one thing for a person to succeed. But did he help others succeed in the process, or did he succeed because he took advantage of others?

Sophisticated devices, social media and other modern conveniences leave us more exposed than ever. We leave trails of data everywhere. We use the Internet to find jobs or customers, who can learn so much about us in a very short time.

It’s all good, right? For those who wish to remain as private as possible, it’s not necessarily good. For those who wish to conceal some things about them, it’s not so good. But most of us want to be out there, for everyone to see. We want to be able to communicate with others easily, even if we can’t meet face to face.

Of course, personal contact and face-to-face meetings are far superior to other communication forms. After all, we can’t read people online. Personal interactions are much more fun than our impersonal ones.

So what do you look like to the world? What mark are you leaving for all to see? Are you helping others?

We must be careful as we look at others not to judge quickly. As New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof wrote recently, his high school friend in Oregon who died at 54 could look, at first glance, like a typical moocher. But Kristof, and those who knew him well, knew him as a hard worker, who just got down on his luck. Kristof called him a victim of economic inequality.

There are many ways those of us who might be down on our luck economically to recover, without asking for a handout. For one of the best, visit Success could be there for the taking if you are sufficiently motivated.

Paul Anka’s lyric in “My Way,” made famous by Frank Sinatra, says, “The record shows, I took the blows, and did it my way.” If “your way,” is to help others, may you take the blows deftly, without injury. Success likely will grace you. If “your way” is to do all for yourself, and little for others, may the record show improvement today, and even more tomorrow.


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