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Ideas. Insights. Inspiration.

Two Types of Awards

I'm writing this as I watch the 92nd Academy Awards.

As a lifelong lover of films, I enjoy watching the annual star-studded spectacle, but it's never without its controversies. Actors and directors you think should have been nominated that weren't. Films you didn't even like that seem to be nominated for every category. And so on.

Here's the thing: controversy is inevitable because of how Academy Awards are chosen. "Academy members are divided into 17 voting branches determined by expertise; actors vote for the acting award nominees, while directors vote for Best Director, and so on. The Best Picture award is the only award decided by all active members of the Academy."

In other words, the Academy Awards are completely subjective. If you're nominated for one, it's because someone else thought you deserved to be. If you win, it's because someone else decided that too. Winning an Oscar can be a significant career boost to anyone in the entertainment industry, so while nominees often say they're honoured to be nominated, it's not difficult to imagine they probably also hope they win. But the smart nominees should understand that winning an Oscar is mostly beyond their control.

An Academy Award is very different from an award like "Top Salesperson". You win an award like "Top Salesperson" when you achieve more sales than anyone else in your company for a predetermined time period... and that's it. There usually aren't any opinions involved, just facts. Awards like that are objective: you win them because of what you did, not because of what someone thought about what you did.

Here's a question for you: when you consider the two types of awards -- subjective awards (where other people decide if you win), and objective awards (where you win when your results are measurably better than those of your competitors) -- what would you rather win?

There isn't a right answer to the question; both awards are nice in their own way. But if forced to choose between the two, I know what I'd pick every time.

A few weeks ago, I posted something about the new 40 over 40 awards, which absolutely falls into the subjective awards category. A friend emailed me after receiving my newsletter and wrote, "40 over 40!!! Now there is still a chance for us! Hoping to see one of us on that list before we die!"

I chuckled when I read that, and then replied, "Perhaps. But it's probably best to worry less about other people designating you as worthy and concentrate on just being worthy."

- dp


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