A snob is anybody who takes a small part of you and uses that to come to a complete vision of who you are...that is snobbery... Now, the opposite of a snob is your mother.
When I sat down to write this post I had originally planned to make a case for the detrimental effects of competitive environments on learning and performance. I've been searching through articles that cite case studies and listening to dozens of interviews by behavioral psychologists.
But then I found this TED talk that basically sums up my philosophical questions about judgment and how the very nature of it sorts people into those that are successful and those that are failures. Perhaps it is not so black and white, or so final, but there is a very tangible feeling of failure when there isn't a full scholarship with the acceptance letter, or an elimination in the competition, or a barricade presented from an audio round before the actual competition takes place. (Yes, I've experienced all of these.)
In making my "failures" public items for discussion, I'd like to think that discussions are (or will be) had by those that have either experienced the same things or are wondering about trying for achievements. All in all, I realized, while listening to this talk, that I place too much emphasis on those judgments. My worth is not linked to my status in the domain of music, nor should it ever be.
Alain de Botton is a philosopher and author of many books about living. He has written about love, about success, about religion, and other things. In his TED talk he discusses the nuances of success, and that perhaps our definitions should be much more individual than we ever expected.
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For anyone's interest, here are some other things I've been looking at this week.
This article about grading by Alfie Kohn asks questions about our methods of evaluation and sorting. Though he focuses on education of children, one can't help but to draw parallels to higher education and the "snobs" of life, to use de Botton's term.
Dan Pink's TED talk about The Puzzle of Motivation brings to the table questions about our standard means of incentive and reward, and how they produce adverse results to those predicted. Yet, even though studies have proved this again and again, there is still an overwhelming trend of using reward for motivation. Though he focuses on business, correlations certainly exist with education and careers outside the business market.