entitlement, achievements, attribution

September 4th, 2012 § 4 comments


It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” Harry S Truman, 33rd president of US (1884 – 1972) source

I heard this quote a while ago, and was shocked by how accurate it is, and how overlooked it is most of the time.

One reason is probably, that everybody likes to be patted on the back. But if one needs it all the time and publicly, it creates some friction in the system, that slows everyone down. That friction comes in the form of envy, being secretive, not helping ‘just because’. In short run it gives some emotional satisfaction, but in the long run, the one’s vicinity is slowed down compared to other communities.

On the other hand, there is a trap for those who don’t pay attention. This quote reminds me somewhat of another one:

If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

Which I think sums up the fear of the person affected quite well – if I don’t take credit, I’ll never have anything. A naive response to this is the one that we described earlier. Smarter response is being humble, but keeping a close watch on actions of others, and preempting situations in which the reality might become permanently distorted.

Clarity and transparency is what everyone should be fighting for, not individual’s achievements.



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