This morning, a colleague emailed some of my team members and me to congratulate us for winning a finalist award for the publication of an educational book series. I replied to thank her for her congratulations, and I added: “It (The award) was so unexpected, as I wasn’t aware there was this awards thingy going on. All I know is we had this project to be worked on, and we did our part. If anything, everyone in this company deserves an award or recognition because we all have contributed in some ways to the publication of the books we are working on, due to our interdependence, regardless of whether these publications are publicly recognised in the industry.”
Having said that, I think people, including myself, like to be inspired. Whether it is meant to be a contest, competition or the like, people like to be inspired by those who challenge themselves to rise to higher heights, or who work for the betterment of society, and so on.
Also, I think everyone appreciates being credited or acknowledged in some ways, whether expressively or reservedly. Sometimes I wonder how to respond to awards or praises in an appropriate manner, as my response may be perceived by others as being humble or being proud. Then again, perhaps humility and pride are strange bedfellows, for they can in a way co-exist in a contradictory fashion in which we are somehow wired to be, given our complex, multidimensional nature. While we may not be expecting or looking for praises or recognition when we seek to do something meaningful or fulfilling, sincere compliments and acknowledgments can go a long way to keep us motivated to continue doing the good work we are doing, as they serve as feedback to let us know that our labour of love is not in vain as it has shown to help make the lives of others better in some ways. It appeals not to our ego but to our conviction that we are on the right track to help alleviate people’s sufferings and so on, and it brings refreshment to our weary souls and renews our vigour and resolve to advocate social justice, emancipation, empowerment of the disenfranchised and so on.
In fact, Jesus himself might be saying that he appreciated being appreciated for helping others when he spoke about the leper who returned to thank him after he was healed, while the other nine lepers who got healed didn’t return to thank him. Jesus, of all people, would be someone who is humble and secure in who he is, and still, he is moved by sincere praises when people acknowledge his good work, even though he often tells others to not announce to anyone after he heals them.
Jesse Williams’ recent BET award acceptance speech taught me how it is possible to use his award to inspire others as he dedicated his award to all those who have also contributed to the humanitarian cause of social justice and racial equality and freedom from oppression. He is wise and mature to know that everyone plays a part in working together for the common good, and everyone deserves to be recognised for the good work that they have done and are doing to make the world a better, safer and more equitable place for everyone. As a representative of these contributors, he uses his platform to speak on behalf of them and gives them the credit they deserve, so that they too can be mutually encouraged and inspired to continue with the good work for the healing of humanity.
“Now, this award – this is not for me. This is for the real organizers all over the country – the activists, the civil rights attorneys, the struggling parents, the families, the teachers, the students that are realizing that a system built to divide and impoverish and destroy us cannot stand if we do.” Jesse Williams