People not products

Is anyone else tired of hearing about personal branding?  I learned about it in school, I read about in blogs and articles, I hear people speak of it often. The concept is everywhere in our society, but for those of you who are not familiar with the idea of personal branding, below is the definition sniped from Wikipedia.

Personal branding is, for some people, a description of the process whereby people and their careers are marked as brands.[1] It has been noted that while previous self-help management techniques were about self-improvement, the personal branding concept suggests instead that success comes from self-packaging.[1]

I abhor the idea of people becoming a product; packaging and peddling themselves to the world as  someone they are not for money, status, friends and other personal gain. In a culture that is overrun with marketing and sales pitches, the last thing we should be doing is selling ourselves, which completely cheapens who we are and who we are intended to be. The fact that personal branding is taught, practiced, and encouraged is disheartening for me.  How did we get so lost that we stopped focusing on who we truly are and started focusing on what others want us to be? We are not products, we have hearts, emotions, minds and souls that have been created for a higher purpose and meaning.  Turn off your electronics, have a conversation with someone and look them in the eyes and you will see the inescapable fact that people are truly more than a commodity. We are all unique, we are all different, and we all have value on which you cannot put a price tag.

I will leave you with a few meaningful lyrics from David Gray’s song “Shine”. May you never compromise your soul, because in the end, we are much more than products: we are people.

For all that we struggle
For all we pretend
It don’t come down to nothing
Except love in the end
And ours is a road
That is strewn with goodbyes
But as it unfolds
As it all unwinds
Remember your soul is the one thing
You just can’t compromise
Take my hand
We’re gonna go where we can shine

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