The Glory Story — do you want MVP, or the championship?
There is no such thing as a truly independent individual achievement.
At the Academy Awards, an individual wins Best Actor or Actress — whether it’s Leonardo Di Caprio, Matthew McConaughey or Meryl Streep, they always thank the people that helped get them there (and they always run out of time).
Then the music starts, trying to drown them out — symbolic of a culture where want one champion. It’s our own version of the hunger games — ‘there can only be one victor’. Only one name goes on the history books for Best Actor, Best Actress.
The other names, the ones that got them there, get forgotten. They don’t get recorded.
Western society is obsessed with extrinsic, individual rewards and achievements
Extrinsic — externally driven. Money, praise, validation, awards… they only get their power because other people provide them, or want them. Because they trigger reactions in our brains that make us crave them.
Individual — ‘I’, ‘me’, and not ‘we’… the difference between getting player of the tournament (individual) and winning the tournament (team).
It’s a recipe for ‘mental illness’ — because an individual chasing extrinsic rewards must, by definition, measure themselves against those around them, constantly comparing themselves to others.
Everyone’s looking for an ‘I did it’ moment
But there is no such thing.
As Anthony de Mello would say, what is the ‘I’ you’re speaking of? How many different voices and influences make up you? You have in you your parents, your grandparents, your teachers, your friends, your biases and your interpretations of the world… you didn’t choose them, not all of them, yet they’ve determined who you are…
So what do you really deserve credit for?
When Phil Jackson came to the Chicago Bulls, the Bulls had a star player called Michael Jordan… but they weren’t getting anywhere. Jackson told Jordan that he had to trust his team mates, that he had to thrive by focusing on them, by helping them score.
Ironically, that’s how Jordan himself would do better.
The Bulls went on to dominate the NBA for the next decade, winning six championships, and Jordan would take home a stack of MVP’s (Most valuable players).
By being forced to lean on the team.
If you chase the glory story…
You’ll shut out the people who will get you to the podium.
Do more together. With community.
Truly humble people don’t just help others — they let others help them.