Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The thrill of winning and the need for joy that lasts

220311_ UCP: winner of Business Breakthrough Award

I asked the question in the previous post because I experienced a real sense of elation as the project I worked on won an award at our division's annual award ceremony. The award was for "Business Breakthrough" and recognised the project that had the biggest positive impact on the wider (not just Technology) business community within my work. It was, in my opinion, well deserved - we rolled out an organisation-wide intranet for 10,000 people within 9 months.

I was delighted. It was nice to win.

But I was sad too.

Sad because I didn't win the individual award I was shortlisted for. It went to some more deserving.

This kind of joy is a fickle mistress... it gives you a buzz but does not provide enough to last. It is fleeting... momentary... temporary... enough to know its no longer there when it is gone.

Its like praise or the adoration of fans... and like all mistresses... it is addictive. We want and crave for more... and don't appreciate what little we have.

There is a need to cultivate a joy that lasts... to take pleasure in a job-well-done... to find the appreciation of something beyond ourselves... to be grateful for what we have rather than hankering for what we don't.

St Paul says in his letter to the Philipians (4v8)...

"...do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse."
Lasting joy comes with the best of all this world can offer... not the worst.

Being recognised by my peers is something worthwhile indeed and something to be proud of... I didn't need to win. I had already won... in a sense. But still I wanted to win. The recognition of the shortlisting wasn't enough. I wanted the trophy. I wanted my time in the spotlight. I wasn't grateful for what I had.

This is the ugly side of competition... the craving for more... the lack of contentment... the inability to feel full... the lack of gratitude.

I can and will move forward by putting this disappointment behind me... and focussing on, and being grateful for, the real and true elements of success - the collective success of the project and the recognition of my individual efforts - this is enough.

In fact, this is more than enough.

I am very grateful.



Anonymous said...

"I'd like to thank the Academy for this award . . ."

Great job, Thomas!

Damien O'Keeffe said...

Another good post, Thomas, that eloquently and humbly makes its point. Success and praise are indeed fickle and can become a goal in themselves. Thanks for the provocation of thought. Kind Regards Dx

weareallghosts said...

Thank you both for your comments!

Angus Mathie said...

Perhaps, Thomas, there is time now to take a lighter touch on your self-examination.
We all need encouragement. In Scotland we don't seem to be good at giving and receiving encouragement. If we truly lived in a "roots and wings" culture we might find it easier to cope with these adrenaline rush moments of winning. You are not a boastful individual and certainly don't threep this win down everyone's throat.
Yes, deeper joy comes through the work of the Holy Spirit but it is not wrong to enjoy recognition and winning. I am sure it and previous occasions of recognition have not, nor will not, make you big headed or stunt your spiritual growth. The Lord has given you a boost and you can let Him guard your heart.


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