Bruce Willis could be the smartest man alive
In the next few weeks we are going to be exposed to many of Hollywood’s “award” shows. The Grammys were handed out just last Sunday (Feb 10th) and the Oscars will be coming up on February 24th. This is a time when we are told who has been voted the “best of the best” in the entertainment industry.
This got me to thinking about how we as a society view awards and their vitality to our self image. If someone tells you that they received an award for being the “best [fill in the blank]”, does that make you jealous or angry? Do you feel slighted or let down?
Dr Carl Pickhardt, a psychologist in Austin, Texas explains award recognition in this way:
Most everybody learns to love an audience, particularly when it awards recognition for performance well done. Like so much else in a person’s life, love of such approval starts in childhood with the little boy or girl showing off for parents: “Watch me!” “Look at what I can do!” “Listen to what I learned!” “See what I have done!” The award of recognition fills a primal need.
Dr Pickhardt goes on to say that once we become adults, most efforts and achievements in life go unrecognized and un-awarded. I think that many of us would agree with that reality.
Many people love his work and would agree that when he stars in a movie, it’s going to be entertaining and make its money at the box office. In the interview he explains how he has taken not being nominated all in stride and even defends the nomination process.
The award of recognition will always be in short supply. Mr. Willis displays wisdom about this process that I feel is important to our own well being. Reading the article in GQ brought to mind my own expectations when it comes to winning. My competition season begins next month. I have been preparing since last November, working with a personal trainer to get my body ready. At the same time, I have been listening to music and thinking about what dance styles that I would like to choreograph.
You would imagine that all of this preparation would help my partner and I take home a win. Unfortunately, while we might place near the top of our division consistenly, life does not grant guarantees. So why do we train so hard and practice for hours upon hours? Personally I enjoy performing and I find that if I do not set goals for myself, I tend to become lazy. Competition really is a means to an end, to keep myself engaged and striving to improve my skills.
Like Mr. Willis, I learned several key rules that I apply to my competitive dancing life:
1) It is best to work for one’s own satisfaction, being able to say “I did my best”.
2) Strong efforts do not always guarantee a win.
3) Awards are partly based on performance, partly based on politics or the “popular” vote.
4) Winning often favors something that is new, different or entertaining.
5) Take time to enjoy the moment if you do win, no one remains on top forever.
6) Sometimes it is just plain luck, so winning should make you humble.
Taking this approach helps keep my mind in the right perspective and why I put in the long hours. More importantly it motivates me to realize that though I may not have a physical award in hand, that does not mean that I did not win. All of the others benefits, like the performance experience, staying strong in body and pushing myself to step outside of my comfort zone are wins just the same. When it is all is said and done, personal effort and accomplishment will be its own reward.
Do have a different view? Please post your comments below.
I walk, I fall down, but meanwhile… I keep dancing.
P.S. – Thanks to Mary for reminding me this blog is not suposed to be a Psych case study. 🙂