On a subjective plane, we could assume that all achievements from the point of view of the achiever are great. There is, therefore, no small-time achievement from the ordinary-language perspective. One’s achievement must be big-time for it is generally associated with her/his feeling of exhilaration. It could be viewed by an external observer as something that’s no big deal at all. But external observers are not the appropriate evaluators of a person’s feeling of elation that necessarily connects with her/his achievement. They don’t know–and it’s impossible for them to directly access–the concrete and exact circumstances surrounding such a delightful feeling exuded by one who celebrates her/his achievement.
We humans are creatures of ambition. We don’t only dream of better things in life; we want them to actually happen. We invest effort, time and resources to make a dream come true. We want an ideal to pass through a trajectory that leads to its realization. And once we find ourselves in that point of consummation, time stops as we savor the sweetness of success. Those who wish to join us in the celebration can only approximate the depth of what we feel. This is the essence of achievement which from our point of view is great and definitely big-deal.
But don’t get me wrong because even on the objective plane, we have witnessed great achievements. Being rewarded with a prize in a special field of interest is an unassailable achievement even if viewed from the vantage point of an external observer. We have witnessed so many instances of achievement particularly in the world of sports, arts and corporate careers, to name a few. It is indeed impossible for us to get into their emotional locus but we can at least approximate the obvious circumstances that have triggered the outward manifestation of their feeling of gladness over a great achievement.
We may be light years away from such kind of big-time achievements but we have our own regardless of how insignificant and commonplace they are from the point of view of an outside observer. Pride isn’t generally considered a value but we cannot help to be proud of our achievements. As congenial appreciators of a friend’s or a family member’s great achievement, we join her/him in feasting and celebration. In this sense, there’s nothing small-time or no-big-deal achievement in the case of friends and family.
Acknowledging true achievements is reflective of our appreciation of the indomitable human spirit. Our desire and struggle to win is embedded in the fiber of our humanity. It doesn’t, however, mean that we abhor losing and thus detest losers. Losing is a fact of life and none of us is immune from losing. The agony of defeat is within the sphere of our reality. But like the proverbial phoenix, the human spirit rises up from the ashes of defeat and plods on along the rocky and dusty path to continue the struggle until victory is finally achieved.
The magnitude of achievement overwhelms our being for we know that such victory has come through our own efforts and not anybody’s. We started off from scratch and our endeavour has paid off. We began the journey with a meager resource and now we have already reached unprecedented heights. We used to be an insignificant entity but is now reckoned as a major player in our chosen field. Nobody took notice of us at the initial phase of our undertaking but now, we are the focal point of those who have finally recognized that our role in society can no longer be ignored.
In the final analysis, an achiever is a winner. S/he has made use of the available resources, logistics and finances before her/him to their optimum magnitude and s/he has fully achieved now every detail of the master blueprint that has finally led her/him to her/his present state of affairs. Without humanity’s sense of achievement, this world could have been bland and boring, disgusting and dull. It is this very sense of achievement that gives essence to every effort we take to realize our aspirations and hopes.
(c) Ruel F. Pepa, 19 June 2019