Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Recognition Era: Accolades without Achievement

People today prioritize and strive for recognition over all else.

The days of actually earning recognition through accomplishment have been overtaken by a world whereby accolade is easier in a self-developed media environment and subsequently there has grown a culture of reward for nothing else other than doing.

Reality TV is the obvious outcome as people who have no significant skill or talent and certainly have not achieved anything are watched and on occasion celebrated for doing absolutely nothing.  This phenomenon extends from people going about their daily jobs like building motorcycles or catching fish to the full blown cult of celebrity whereby people who are otherwise normal gain a following for merely being followed by cameras (the Kardashian's for example).

Our society has created this from birth as we no longer embrace a spirit of accomplishment to gain recognition nor do we rely on competition to distinguish those who deserve accolades. Everyone today, who in the past would have been considered average receives acknowledgement.  At a recent university graduation, every graduating member of the class received Honours or Distinction status.  What is the point?

In sports, there is a Para-Olympic program that permits those with disabilities to perform on a world stage though quite often their achievements are microscopic when compared to the world’s best.  In fairness though, these folks work very hard to get where they are.  Even in team sports overall, a spirit of inclusion and equality of playing time quite often is paramount when compared to winning and losing so why even refer to it as sport?  Under these conditions it has become merely exercise.

YouTube has given every single person in the world the opportunity to be acknowledged for doing nothing more than holding a camera.  Sadly, the elements of YouTube that attracts the most attention are cat videos, people doing dumb things and Justin Bieber.  None of which adds anything to a broader society beyond a few brief seconds of distraction.

On an extremely more negative note, recognition has also become more important for the truly dysfunctional element of society.  These individuals now feel justified in undertaking quite spectacular atrocities so that they receive some type of acknowledgement as they know that they cannot be acknowledged within modern societal norms.

What needs to happen is that achievement and accolades have to become more attainable without the media being present and/or for merely fulfilling the mundane part of existence. 

People who deliver results and rise above difficult circumstances certainly warrant more from society than they currently receive.  People who contribute greatly to their local community deserve more pay.  People who rise above the norm deserve more acknowledgements for their contributions.  Those who truly have unique skills or achieve major accomplishments in athletics, business, entertainment, beauty can still attain disproportionate amounts of success due to their personal accomplishments.

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