I am not an award-winning anything. I am not a New York Times bestselling author, I don’t have a Peabody award, Pushcart prize, Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, or any literary book award. I haven’t gotten any medals for doing something outstanding (except that I did finish the Chicago triathlon and got the same medal all participants received.)
If you look around, adjectives have become a constant label attached to products, services, and people. There are award-winning pies, number-one-rated cars, best-selling authors, America’s top chefs, and on and on. The world is running on clicks, likes, awards, trophies, and adjectives. We are forced to take a second look if something isn’t unique, incredible, extraordinary, or outstanding.
I don’t have any pre-title adjectives attached to my name. In other words, I haven’t been called brilliant, haven’t been nominated, celebrated, acclaimed, or given a trophy for something.
It doesn’t mean I am just walking in the weeds as a loser or below average. (I did get certificates in high school and college for making the A/B honor roll, so there is that.) It just means that I am average or maybe haven’t been noticed for greatness.
Those shiny adjectives have become so oversaturated that one has to wonder if they really are a marker for excellence or merely used to promote marketing and boost sales. Not everything or everyone is brilliant, fantastic, or unique.
But if and when it is, how do we tell the difference? What criteria is used to determine best-sellers or a number-one-rated anything? The public only cares because we are repeatedly told by advertisers and promoters to care or risk using inferior products and services.
We all love slaps on the back. We all want to use products and services that are the best. It is easy enough to declare greatness by purchasing and framing one’s own certificates, naming awards after oneself, and ordering trophies placed strategically in office windows. But we must be careful that the overuse of such adjectives doesn’t dilute real talent and true excellence and make it meaningless.
The real heroes and those deserving of high praise and accolades are those who risk their lives, like the brave and heroic firefighters and police, who deserve all the adjectives we can proffer. We should heap major honors on those who teach our children and those who help better society with their excellence.
The most prestigious award in fields like medicine and real estate is not an award but a referral from a satisfied patient or client.
I don’t need to see eye-level plaques on walls or trophies on tabletops to believe something is good. Many great stories, products, and services never receive any award. The best judge is simply noting the quality of work, the professionalism and the sincerity of the person being dealt with. We don’t need to reduce everything to winners and losers, failures and lesser quality.
I like sound competition. There should be awards, accolades, and trophies for those who score the most points and win races and games in sports. Employees should be recognized for their hard work and talents in business and other fields.
Adjectives can add value to the things we encounter every day because they can help us make decisions and color the world. It does boost morale and can provide bragging rights. But let’s that not overuse them. Everyone wants to feel valued, buy the best, and be an icon of success.
Maybe someday I will be an award-winning, best-selling somebody. For now, I am appreciated and respected for the words I write and the kind of person I am. I will keep doing it to the best of my ability.
If you would like to read more, check these out.
- Pangolin Love
- Holding the Contradiction
- Fluff of Delight – Nonfiction Monologue Reading
- I Hate Nature
Laurie Einstein Koszuta
Laurie Einstein Koszuta is a freelance writer currently living in Florida. Her work has appeared in Emerald Coast Magazine, Kveller, Shape, and many others. She is an avid tennis player, scrabble aficionado, exercise guru and a new pickleball player.
Find more on Laurie’s website.