Just as sweet?
It is Smallsteps' name day - which is some kind of tradition in this part of the world, kind of like a birthday, but not. And, it also seems to depend on which calendar is used as to what names appear when. In Finland, there aren't that many names and names have to be approved if they are not chosen from the preapproved list. Well, unless the parents are foreign, because there is more freedom then.
“What's in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.”
How naïve was Juliet?
There was a study done where they showed two shades of nail polish and asked people to describe them. One was called something like "ballet slipper" and the other was called something like "wild rose" and depending on which, people described them quite differently. However, they were identical.
It seems that the name does matter.
So, if this is the case, what effect does our own name have on the outcomes of our lives?
In recent years in Finland for example, there have been numerous studies and tests done, where they have submitted CVs for open positions that are identical, except for the name. If it is a local Finnish name, the chances are far, far higher of getting an interview than a foreign name.
No surprises there.
But, I wonder what these kinds of effects have on the person throughout their life. For instance, I don't care what people call me or how they say my name too much, but is this a response to my childhood and how people largely didn't even bother trying to say my name correctly? It is only five letters long, it isn't like it is that difficult. After years of teachers just randomly saying whatever came out of their mouth and very few asking for clarification or proper pronunciation, has my own attachment or value in my name been affected?
In the classic book, How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, one of the first things mentioned is the importance of a persons name and how it commands attention, where upon hearing it, it is instinctual to turn. However, is this true if people consistently get the name wrong? I don't think it is for me at least.
While Juliet was making a poignant statement that Romeo shouldn't be tarnished because of the family name he carries, the fact is that names do have an effect on our impressions of something and therefore, how we are going to treat them. so, should we be more careful naming when naming our kids - are we doing them a favor by naming them something that stands out or, is it better to have their name blend in with others in their peer group?
I guess that for the celebrities, they are looking for something memorable, but not necessarily difficult to say, which is why so many of them change their names - would Marilyn Monroe be as iconic if she went by Norma Jeane Mortenson? What about being named after other family members or famous people - does this affect our outcomes in life?
How about yourself - do you feel your name has advantaged or disadvantaged you in life? Has it been an issue at all?
And perhaps this is something else to consider, because I think that because my name has been difficult for many people to say, I have been made more aware of it than those whose name is more common, so perhaps I have a different sensitivity to this topic.
Sometimes I wonder what people were thinking when they named themselves on Hive or perhaps like me, they thought they could change it after. However, perhaps if someone is trying to build an account in the community, it is useful not to have a name that is difficult to say or to write - though there are plenty who do things like put in zeroes for Os and dashes all over the place too. Do they think about what effect this has on their account?
Better than a hash though!
It took ages to choose a name for Smallsteps and I don't know if she will be advantaged or disadvantaged by it, but I think that we each have the opportunity to give meaning to our name through the way we behave and how we make others feel in general. The name itself might not be that important, but it becomes a hook that represents our personality with those who know us, like an actor whose roles are held within theirs and, their scandals too.
While we might want to be remembered for the good things -
sometimes it is better to be forgotten.
At the end of the day though, the people who care about us, aren't going to forget our name.
Even if like me, we don't have a name day.