Award Systems – Why is Striving for Excellence So Important?

Group of People Pedestrian Rush Hour Concept

Happy-PeopleThe New Year is well underway, and from now until next Xmas, we will be bombarded with the notification of nominees or the final results of the various Award giving institutions and organisations around the world.

From Humanitarian to the Sciences, from Sporting institutions to all aspects of both the Visual and Performance Arts, as well as Literature, including Writing, the lists go on and on, as people worldwide pursue their chosen fields with diligence and commitment.

Group of People Pedestrian Rush Hour ConceptCulture is created in community and today the arts and cultural industries, as well as so many others, help to shape the complex and competitive environment within which our society conducts itself practically every day.

The people all have in common what they are seeking; to achieve both theoretical and practical excellence. It’s all about making ends meet while we build intrinsically satisfying careers that both meet and satisfy our personal and professional needs and desires.

Creative expression gives voice to us as individuals, challenging perceptions and helping us see the world through the eyes of others.

Oscars 3To achieve locally helps us gather inspiration so we can continually scale the heights to the next, and perhaps even next platform, on which we are able to continue to expand our experience, knowledge and technique.

What we hope is that in the end we will be able to compete and achieve on a broader world stage of engagement.

Cate-Blanchett-Oscars-2014One of the best-known, perhaps most glamour filled awards on the annual calendar, are those given out by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Los Angeles, where recipients, such as Australia’s lovely Cate Blanchett, receive an ‘Oscar from their peers in the industry, who respect and honour their achievement.

Oscar, the hand clutching gold statuette, has become symbolic of this landmark event, handsomely rewarding those seeking to raise and set the standards and achieve excellence in motion picture art.

Oscars 1The award represents a great deal to those receiving it and they often express how they are overwhelmed by the experience.

Twentieth century Nobel Peace Prize Winner physicist Albert Einstein said, ‘all that is valuable in human society depends upon the opportunity for development accorded the individual’.

Michelangelo Buonarroti (Italian, 1475–1564). Study of the Torso of a Male Nude Seen from the Back. Black chalk, with lead-white gouache highlights. Albertina, Vienna (123)

Michelangelo Buonarroti (Italian, 1475–1564). Study of the Torso of a Male Nude Seen from the Back. Black chalk, with lead-white gouache highlights. Albertina, Vienna (123)

While knowledge defines all we currently know and understand, it is certainly imagination, which Einstein indicated was more important than knowledge, that points to a way forward that may help us to achieve all we might yet discover we can be.

Many careers are launched at an international level as a result of local awards, especially when given to those willing and able to take the next big leap in their professional practice, which requires both risk taking and enormous inner strength and commitment to achieve.

Jayson Gillham 3

Queensland born Jayson Gillham, now a success on the international stage.

Fellowships, grants and individual patronage from both the public and private sectors, including commercial and not for profit organizations, offer funding grants to help practitioners along the way.

Internationally acclaimed rural Queensland born pianist Jayson Gilham convincingly won the Australian National Piano Award at Shepparton, Victoria in October 2008.

One of the judges, Helen Krizos from the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, UK, said “Jayson has the capacity to create magic and to speak strongly with a personal voice of his own. He had a deep insight into every style of music that he performed… reflected in the fact he also won individual prizes for Bach, Beethoven and Chopin.”

The honorary BAFTA presented to Her Majesty The Queen by Sir Kenneth Branagh at Windsor Castle, 4 April 2013, in recognition of Her Majesty's outstanding patronage of the film and television industries. The BAFTA is on display in 'Royal Gifts', the special exhibition at the Summer Opening of Buckingham Palace, courtesy Royal Collection Trust / (c) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017

The honorary BAFTA presented to Her Majesty The Queen by Sir Kenneth Branagh at Windsor Castle, 4 April 2013, in recognition of Her Majesty’s outstanding patronage of the film and television industries. The BAFTA is on display in ‘Royal Gifts’, the special exhibition at the Summer Opening of Buckingham Palace, courtesy Royal Collection Trust / (c) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017

Awards on different levels do reap benefits for those receiving them; it also gives their peers a standard to strive for and exceed in terms of excellence, either helping them to kick start their own careers when young, providing opportunities for further career development in middle age, and or confirm their achievements and professionalism as they age.

No one who has ever stayed the whole course would say it was easy. It takes an iron will, determination, a clear set of goals, compromise, a great deal of humility and a real willingness to embrace often both rapid and continual change. Achieving a sustainable career more than often also requires us all to pursue a diversity of roles within and outside of the discipline we first chose.

Where we end up may often be far removed from where we started or thought we wanted to go at the time and surprisingly, it also may turn out to be a change for the better.

One thing is sure, we all need to take time out early in our career to think on the possibilities that may lay ahead and take on board how we will need a personal philosophy to adhere to; a clear idea in our heads of what our moral stance might be when we are faced with difficult decisions.

Rodin ThinkerThere are many cultural influences on currents of philosophy and today it is all about human behaviour and our ability to be fair, honest and direct when dealing with others.

We need to respect each other and learn to acknowledge that others have the right to agree, or disagree.

Thinking about how humans behave in the moment and in the future, can help change policy, politics and practice, activate and retain trust, giving us the flexibility we need if we are to face all our challenges, either personal or professional.

Today the act of thinking must become the new ‘black’!

We need to close the social aspiration gap ‘between the world we say we want, and the world that actually exists because of our actions’*.

Group of People Relaxing Outdoors With Coffee Social networks, as opposed to more traditional concepts of ‘community’, will affect strategies and outcomes into the future as they sustain and grow the global society whose challenges affect us all, including climate change.

Blessings received often turn into our hardest trials especially when we are young. However, it is when you realise it is indeed time ‘to put away childish things’ and expose yourself to knowing yourself, that life can change for the better.

It can all sound deceptively simple, but it’s in fact complex; it’s all about meaning, purpose, growth and completion. The hardest lesson to learn for us all is about becoming who you are meant to be.

group of happy young people jumping on the mountainWhile it’s great to respond impulsively sometimes and jump with the heart rather than just our head, if we have our two self-guides both moral and philosophical worked out, it will help us not to go down what may turn out to be a very dark track indeed.

Getting yourself together first means you can successfully engage with all the people you meet along the way and find what it is you are looking for in life and reap the awards.

People Progressing… simplicity, patience, compassion are our greatest treasures

Simple in actions and in thoughts
you return to the source of being
Patient with both friends and enemies
you accord with the way things are
Compassionate toward yourself
you reconcile all beings in the world

Carolyn McDowall, The Culture Concept Circle, 2018

PS… from an unknown source

TeacherA professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls.

He then asked the students if the jar was full. They all agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They again agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Naturally the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous ‘yes.’

The professor then produced two beers from under the table and he poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed..

‘Now,’ said the professor as the laughter subsided, ‘I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life.

Hourglass of Life

The golf balls are the important things; your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passion. If everything else was lost and only they remained your life would still be full.

The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car and the sand is everything else – the small stuff.

‘If you put the sand into the jar first,’ he continued, ‘there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life.

If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you. Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.

Spend time with your children. Spend time with your parents. Visit grandparents. Take your spouse to dinner. Play another 18 holes. There will always be time to clean the house and mow the lawn.

Take care of the golf balls first, the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand in the hourglass of life.

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the Beer represented. The professor smiled and said, ‘I’m glad you asked.’ The beer just shows you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of beers with a friend.

*RSA: Changing the Subject’ by Matt Grist – Download

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