Recognition Driven Society

In our contemporary society, recognition has become a currency of immense value, a reflection of the times we inhabit encapsulating the essence of our era. 

“Half the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important.” – T.S. Eliot

This craving for importance has infiltrated our daily lives, subtly dictating our sense of self-worth. The digital age, with its platforms like Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), Instagram, and LinkedIn, prompts us to constantly broadcast our actions, thoughts, and achievements, turning life into a series of posts and updates seeking recognition.

Facebook and Instagram = What are you doing 

X = What are you thinking

LinkedIn = What are you working on

Our lives are filled with rapid fire posting and knee jerk comments and reactions. Waiting and anticipating external validation to what is posted.

The dynamic of social media has transformed the way we measure worth with likes, shares, follows, and comments becoming the yardstick of personal value. This public ledger of approval encourages a behavior pattern where individuals are more focused on capturing and sharing moments for external praise and glory rather than experiencing them fully. This phenomenon has led to a society where people are more engrossed in documenting their lives than living them, often prioritizing the potential for recognition over genuine engagement with the present.

Relentless Validation Addiction

This relentless pursuit of validation can be likened to an addiction, where each ‘like’ or comment acts as a dose that momentarily satisfies the craving for acknowledgment, only to leave an individual yearning for more. It creates a cycle of dependency, where self-esteem becomes intertwined with and contingent upon the fluctuating metrics of social media popularity.

Moreover, the fickleness of public adoration is stark, resembling the nature of ‘fair-weather’ fans who are quick to applaud success but equally swift to deride failure. The ephemeral nature of such approval underscores the instability of basing one’s self-worth on external stimuli. It highlights the importance of discerning between fleeting online recognition and the steadfast support of genuine relationships, which provide unwavering support regardless of one’s public persona or online acclaim.

Our societal fixation on performance and ‘post-ability’ has overshadowed the intrinsic value of the individual. Overshadowing the internal qualities that constitute our true essence. The wisdom of Abraham Lincoln, who likened character to a tree and reputation to its shadow, serves as a poignant reminder of the importance of nurturing our inner selves. Our character, the “real thing,” should be the focal point, rather than the shadowy, often distorted reflection cast by social media.

John Wooden’s advice to prioritize character over reputation further emphasizes the need to cultivate and value our core qualities over the perceptions others may have of us. It is a call to genuineness, urging us to ensure that our online presence – the ‘shadow’ we cast – genuinely reflects our true beliefs, values, and character.

Ultimately, life’s richness is found in the experiences and connections we make, not in the superficial accolades garnered on social media. The moments we share with the people physically present in our lives are where true value lies. It is essential to remain grounded in the present, cherishing each moment, and fostering real relationships that transcend the ephemeral nature of online recognition.

“Be more concerned with your character than your reputation because your character is what you really are, your reputation is merely what others think you are.” John Wooden


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