I got suckered into a Hacker News piece titled “Rejection” about a kid afraid to jump off the diving board. After some embarrassment he reluctantly does, but the author questions why the world didn’t congratulate him on his attempt. Instead girls watching giggle, the kid’s mom smiles and the world goes on.
The world does not congratulate you on mundane unimpressive activities. That is the responsibility of your mom and friends, but people who are not part of your circle do not have context and therefore no reason to give you props. Any sort of expectation that you should get some sort of positive reaction from them is naive.
If you grew up inside a sheltered world, one of privilege as I suspect the author did, then the people in your circle who cheer for your every move do so as part of their job and because in some way your success is beneficial to their success. Any expectation that the world outside of yours works this way is just plain wrong.
Instead, the world cheers for those who achieve impressive acts, ones that transcend the common person and rise above into the top echelons of humanity. Its those achievements that get world celebration and recognition.
The question posed by the writer is
What would have made Alex, myself and possibly everyone else feel much better about the world at that point. I should have congratulated him in his attempt. I should have walked over to him as he got out of the pool, stuck up my hand for a high-five, and said “good job! now go do it again”, with a big sincere smile on my face.
But I didn’t. I didn’t even think about it, but next time, I will.
The world does not need a lowering of the bar so that more people get congratulated for doing mundane things like jumping into a pool. What we need instead are people with drive determined to continue to climb until they finally do something worthy of recognition. Alex should take his lesson that jumping from the diving board didn’t illicit any sort of cheering and either learn to dive and possibly compete, quit diving all together, or be satisfied with the world not noticing how poorly he jumps off a diving board.