If you get ahead, does that make me smaller? For some people the answer appears to be ‘yes’ and as a result they spend their energy cutting down those who set off on a path that makes them stand out. We can become intimidated by the brilliance in another person. Australia and some other Western countries use the term the ‘Tall Poppy Syndrome’ to describe a social phenomenon that causes everyday people to attack, resent and ‘cut down to size’ people with outstanding talents or achievements.
But the contrasting position is that another person’s victory need not make you or me any smaller. Our smallness happens when we live a life of comparison whereby another’s victory means my defeat. Rather we need to champion people who are forging ahead, trying new things, taking new territory – this enlarges our world and provides goals and benchmarks that we may never have imagined. We applaud this kind of achievement and risk-taking in the international athletic world but struggle to acknowledge the efforts of those performing in our own.