“The only way to escape the personal corruption of praise is to go on working.”
During the evolution of mankind a universal symbol of encouragement was established. Were the first applause when the neanderthals discovered fire on some sub zero day? Or did the Egyptians give a standing ovation after witnessing the Great Pyramids of Giza? Whatever the origins, to applaud is an important motivational gesture in our modern culture.
However, contrary to it’s intent, the effects are not always positive. I’m sure you’ve seen the “can’t miss” phenom athlete that has received national press coverage since they were in pee wee league but never meets the hype. Ever wonder how something so benign could turn malignant? Here are a few of my observations on the potential negative effects of praise (no need to be another test dummy):
Stagnation – It’s human nature to appreciate praise or recognition. But as the axiom states, “too much of anything is a bad thing.” The ghosts of the Iron Mike Tyson vs. Buster Douglas debacle in Tokyo manifest. Recently, in a documentary of Mike reminiscing about the events, he admits the primary contributing factors was his early success and the media attention which affected his preparation. Often when we digest an excessive amount of praise, it can develop into pre-mature accomplishment. We abandon our formula for success – creativity and strong work ethic.
Ego – An individual may receive the credit but it’s always a “Team” effort, and often we forget the unseen hand. When the god complex develops, self-destruction looms in the shadows. It reminds me of one of your favorite Super Bands where the lead singer becomes a megalomaniac and goes solo, but never to attain the multi-platinum status. Case in point – Ringo Starr, Cisco and Grand Puba (exceptions: Michael Jackson, Lionel Richie, Sting). Never deceive yourself that you did it alone, assistance comes in many forms – advice, ideas, mental support, etc…
Sacred Cows – What is truth today may not be truth tomorrow. The rules we adopt for the initial success are not meant to become universal law. Let’s use a PR agency as example. For eons the standard formula for exposure was print, radio and TV. However, in the 21st century the most effective and efficient PR is free at your fingertips on the Internet, thru social media platforms and bloggers. The ability to remain open to new ideas and analyze the unique variables in each situation should be the only sacred cow. “When brains are needed, muscle won’t help.”
Unconsciously, adulation is my personal alarm to get motivated. The primary reason being, with praise comes attention and with attention comes imitation (which is not necessarily a negative). However, with massive imitation your idea or product becomes diluted. Over the years I realized the best remedy from excessive attention is to simply remain HUMBLE & FOCUSED!
P.S. – Please share your comments below and thanks for the massive encouragement to get back to blogging.