self-degrad`habit: compare with higher flyers

This post is Relevant to parenting, in sports and also in a dev team…

eg: I was very strong in physics at high-school level in a top secondary school. Then other students rose up to be as strong as me. I had a deep sense that my edge was gone and I would no longer be far and away the strongest in my school. One day I suddenly saw myself as a nobody since I was no longer the strongest in at least one major field. The fact that I was still one of the strongest in that Beijing district, and also across China was completely wiped off the table and trashed. At the same time, my math was also in the top 0.1% and I had no weakness academically.

eg: 王傑 (Dave Wong), one of my all-time favorite Taiwan singers became less popular after more than a decade, and lost further ground in terms of “mind share” as he aged past 50. There have been too many new talents. Many of them come and go, and few had the same longevity as Dave. I don’t know how he felt, but a fact that’s easy to lose is, he has a distinct style. Not being the top 20 most popular singer doesn’t wipe out that fact. Many fans still love him even though he can’t sing like 30 years ago.

eg: A great pastor (or preacher) goes to Australia and was wowed to witness another preacher of a similar style, but more powerful (or more eloquent). He soon decided to learn and improve himself, and developed his distinct style. He has unique talent as an individual, and he would sooner or later develop some feature of his own.

eg: A solid movie can be upstaged by a movie of a similar genre, but higher box office. However, every serious movie is unique. If two very similar movies are both good, then invariably the differences will be significant.

I know more than one individual with a habit to degrade, belittle, and dismiss her/his own achievements, strengths and talents. The opposite of “celebrate every little improvement“. An irrational, unfair, self-destructive habit. Because most grown-ups have developed some immunity, doing this thing to other people is not as harmful as doing it to ourselves and loved ones. We will have more to say about parenting…

It’s impractical to dictate “If I’m good at this field than I have to be #1 in the entire school or nothing.” If you are indeed #1, then sooner or later you would meet someone with a higher talent in some part of this field, so your #1 position becomes questionable. Does it diminish your achievements? Possibly, arguably yes, but does it zero out your achievement? No. You are still a valuable player in the team.

There’s a related patten. An individual would still degrade himself if he is indeed the #1 local champion but in a less glamorous field, like a less popular art or sport, or less important domain. Well, that field is valuable and worthwhile. It’s a real fact. For example, my dad is a top researcher in several less glamorous domains.

I think [[Compassion and self-hate]] has something relevant here.


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