Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Supremacy is Overrated

Pick up a history book-any history book-and see how far into it you get before you come across a story about some leader, somewhere, striving for supremacy. Biblical history gives us the stories of Nebuchadnezzar and Herod. Medieval history gives us countless examples of leaders and civilizations who went to great efforts to rule their worlds. Napolean was driven to rule the world, as was Hitler. And, more recently, Dictators like Sadaam Hussein-who didn't attempt to overtake the world, but positioned themselves as the supreme rulers in their various societies.

I have to ask myself-where does this drive for supremacy come from? I don't believe that, in all honesty, many of us would be satisfied in a position of supremacy. Why? Perhaps I'm opening myself up here, unnecessarily, but I think that it would be quite depressing to be the supreme anything-to be the best at anything, to be the heap of the pack, king of the hill, the acknowledged "king" of anything. Now, I know-those of you who know me, your collective jaws just hit the floor! Please-hear me out!

All of us, to some degree, need some measure of extrinsic motivation. We can argue the validity of that statement later (I can tell you, though: I'm right). I, for one, to some degree, desire (need) the admiration of those who I acknowledge as my superiors-whether in terms of talent, or social standing, or in terms of heirarchical position in a work environment. It means something to me to have that acknowledged superior admire me, say well done, pat me on the back, give me kudos. I think that, to some degree, it means something to you too!

So-I strive to be better, to receive more of that positive feedback, because it, in part, drives me! (For the record, folks, I'm cringing here! I'm admittedly not usually quite this open, and it's a little difficult). Perhaps this is an earmark of successful people-the drive to receive affirmation from their superiors, because, in a sense, it drives them to constantly attempt to achieve more.

Which all leads to my point: if, in fact, that positive affirmation from authority figures-from superiors-is part of what drives me, do I simply lay down and die when I reach the top? When there is nobody left who I admire as greater than me, does my motivation die? I'm, quite frankly, deathly afraid of that (not that I'm anywhere near the top of ANYTHING-don't get me wrong Richard!). But, what if I do get there? Does the journey cease to matter to me anymore?

I think Simba said, "I just can't wait to be King!" I respectfully disagree! I'm scared to death of being king! Kingship doesn't interest me in the least! Because, who pats the king on the back, says well done? Nobody of any import, I would contend! It's the journey toward kingship-and the affirmation that the "king" gives along the way-that I enjoy!

So, I'll continue striving-continue to bask in any occasional praise I receive from the acknowledged authorities in my life. But, hear this: if I ever feel like I'm getting close to the top, don't be suprised if I move on!


Anonymous said...

PJ I hope you’re not beating yourself up about the fact that you desire praise and acknowledgement for the things you do. Every person with a beating heart strives for praise and admiration. As you stated it's what motivates us to better ourselves and achieve greatness. Where you stated that those who know you jaws would be hitting the floor. Mine didn't I never thought that you were a power hungry individual a perfectionist yes. I know there is more to you than meets the eye. Many layers I'm just beginning to unravel. That makes you who you are. And the more I learn the more I'm glad I know you in real life and not just as some guy I read about his thoughts and opinions online. In other words. PJ I admire you.

PJ said...

I told someone recently that I've come to the conclusion that our minds-at least mine-I'll not speak for the rest of you-but, my mind sometimes seems like a minefield. I walk through known territory, but take a slight detour, and explore an area where I've never been, and get the suprise of my life!

No, "one who knows," I'm not beating myself up; merely marveling at the fact that I, apparently, don't know myself NEARLY as well as I thought I did! Thank you SO MUCH for the kind words! It means a lot-particularly coming from someone "who knows"!

My only concern regarding your comment: You state that you notice "many layers starting to unravel." Is that unravel in the strictest, psychological sense of the term? Need I worry? If you know me, you know that there's that danger! No-I know you mean new layers are starting to be exposed!

Thank you again! It means alot! And-since you seem to know, come back soon, ok?