The applause is for what you are, not who you are!

The writer

The day you lose your job as the manager, your company will take its cars from you. You will be asked to vacate the company’s residence. All your subordinates who trembled at your sight will look into your face and address you by your nickname. That is the day you will learn one of life’s greatest lessons ― your true importance is measured by who you are, not what you are.

If you are the president, that is what you are… not who you are. Being the CEO of a company, for instance, is what you are. Who you really are is when you leave office. If your talent hurls you into the spotlight, who you are is when there is no spotlight. What you are is not who you are. 

What we are will open doors for us. When we are wealthy, our money will make us what we are. We will be accepted in places we were once booed. We will attract friends we could never have in our state of penury. All the good things of life will happen to us because of what we are.

Our titles and talents make us what we are. Our character makes us who we are. We may sometimes mistake what we are as who we are but one thing worth remembering is that what we are is temporary unlike who we are. We may lose our accolades at a point in life but not our character.

We were who we were before we became what we are. When we lose what we are, we still remain who we are. When what we are walks out of the door of our life, who we are will always stay behind.

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When doors are opened to you because of what you are, always remember those doors will remain open only as long as you remain what you are. The day you lose your titles and possessions, these doors will be slammed in your face.

The day you lose what you are, people will treat you as they have always wanted to. Who others really are is what they become when you are no more what you are, hence, don’t be deceived by the applause. All the cheers belong to what you are, not who you are.

We sometimes become pompous with what life makes us. We talk down on our subordinates and colleagues. We trash our wives and husbands. We assume we are better than everybody and that life will come to a standstill when we leave office. We become our own demigods.

When our position in life changes, the loudness of people’s applause will change. Those who used to hang around us for favors will desert us. People who used to bow to us will have no shame insulting us. Our cheerleaders will be cheering others on (and not us) because all the opportunities our position came with are no more.   

When life is good, don’t be mistaken that the applause is for you. The applause is for your title. It is for your wealth. Many are praising you because of your talent. You will lose all the attention the day you are no more in the spotlight. The applause is solely for those in the limelight.

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People may cheer us on today because of what life has made us. Some will praise us because of the likely opportunities they may get when they are associated with us. Others will be our yes men because they can leverage on our titles to get doors opened for them. Never assume these accolades are forever. The day life takes away what we are, who we are will attract no praises.

Many will be our fans only when there is fun. The only thing that will keep some around us will be our money. They may look like loyal friends until life yanks away all the glory that surrounds us.

We will have many friends to spend life’s good time with. When we are in favorable positions, many people will bow to us. They will be at our beck and call. In the days of our fat season, we will never run out of people to party with. Unfortunately, many of those who come around us when times are good are only in for the good times.

When the party in your life is over, don’t expect everybody to stay behind to help you clean up. When life takes away what it gave us, not everyone will have the patience to wait. A rich (wo)man has no true friends. Almost everyone is hanging around for something.  

It is when the party in our lives is over that we will know who our true friends were. True friends will stay behind to clean the mess of the party while fans hurriedly walk away. Fans came in for the fun. True friends were there before the fun.

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In life, always remember that who we really are is when we are without our titles, positions and wealth. If no one applauds us in these times, we must never mistake people’s applause for our possessions as one for us.

By Kobina Ansah

The writer is a Ghanaian playwright and Chief Scribe of Scribe Communications (, an Accra-based writing firm. Connect with him on all social media platforms.