10 Dimensions of Victory
- August 21, 2016
- Posted by: Reena Saxena
- Category: Thinking Maps
Social media has been on a party of Olympian proportions, in the last few weeks. Controversial comments, trolling, exposure, criticism, admiration and euphoria are all in full play. This is how a nation, society and culture pulsate, and one needs to watch closely to understand the prevailing mood.
IS IT ALL ABOUT VICTORY?
We participate in a contest to win, to display our mettle, and gain recognition on a larger platform. Victory is meant to be celebrated. It would be shameful to ignore or downplay the herculean efforts of the participants, or the badges of honor received.
But different segments appear to have a different motive behind the celebrations. I felt compelled to examine the various aspects of something as simple as hailing a victory.
The aspirants to a similar victory observe it closely, and celebrate a future star-spangled vision. They see themselves in every frame, every pose and every byte doled out by the winners.
The doomsayers who have never thought that they could, start seeing a ray of hope. If X can do it, why can’t we, or anybody on a similar quest? It suddenly validates the achievability of hopes and dreams, and alters attitudes.
3. Sectarian pride
Particular sections of the population, like women, a particular state or institution acquire a sense of participation in the victory. They are proud of someone of their own ilk, reaching the stars, or the coveted award, cup or medal. Expressions like ‘well-deserved’ mark the sentiment.
The three athletes who won accolades for the nation, all being women, have brought out all feminist issues in open forums.
4. Awe and recognition
Stories of the intense preparation, the struggle, the sacrifices made by the participants dot the media. There is an awe-struck generation, looking up at details of the number of hours per day spent in preparation, the time spent without basic amenities such as the phone and television, and the battle against naysayers, fought for several years.
5. Exposure of malpractices in the system
The poor infrastructure, the pathetic facilities provided to the participants, the casual attitude of officials, favoritism and the measly rewards are all highlighted. It succeeds in drawing mass attention to the gaps, and might induce the state to make some corrections, and dole out higher financial rewards.
6. Affinity with the enemy’s rival
If I do not like a country or a contestant, all my support goes to the rival. I hope and pray for, and celebrate the rival’s victory, as it feels like apt dispensation of justice. The loser deserved what s/he got, more so than the winner. We celebrate the emergence of a challenger to take him on, and show him his place. The challenger is seen as a savior, an upholder of honor or justice. S/he need not make it to the last mile. A battle won is as good as the war. It has generated hope for the future.
7. Personality wins
A contestant wins hearts and minds with his/her character, conduct, statements and the spunk displayed. Even the first-time viewer develops an affinity for a contestant, based on the personality projected. Such a contestant wins, irrespective of a victory or defeat on the field. They acquire public sympathy for a loss, not a damnation.
Dipa Karmakar made it to the fourth place in gymnastics, and lost an Olympic medal by a mere 0.15 of a point. The risk undertaken by her in performing the Produnova, helped her win millions of hearts, in the country and abroad.
8. Shaming the Naysayer
A celebrity makes negative statements damning the prospects of victory or performance, maybe a little too early in the game. Thereafter, each positive step taken, each accolade, each medal becomes an occasion to bash up the naysayer. Demands for apologies or retraction of the statement, take the social media by storm.
The Shobhaa De episode has amply demonstrated this phenomenon.
The media discovers veterans, who are leading a humble life today, despite their gargantuan achievements in the past. The failure of the system in taking care of its achievers, and the consequent reluctance of future generations to enter the arena leading to a national loss, is revealed. The comparison with champions of other countries or another sport, highlights the wide gaps.
10. Benchmarking against past victories
It helps to be the first winner. One is hailed just for reaching a particular point, irrespective of the qualitative aspects of the performance. A territory has been conquered, a flag has been hoisted, a name has been etched in the annals of history.
Emily Dickinson’s poem elucidates the preceding sentiment:
“Victory comes late,
And is held low to freezing lips
Too rapt with frost
To take it.
How sweet it would have tasted,
Just a drop!”
WHAT FOLLOWS VICTORY
What is competition all about? It is about honing talents, a SWOT analysis and inspiring people to reach their peak levels. In absence of competition, that effort would never have been made.
Upholding a honor, holding your place in the hierarchy and chalking out a plan for climbing to a higher rank follows a victory. Somehow, this process manages to escape public attention. A biography is not needed to document the method followed by a winner, the requirements (inborn qualities, talent, efforts, investment), the sacrifices (maybe an academic career), and the facilities/avenues available for future aspirants. We need national, regional and institutional plans to attract and nurture talent, and the information being available in public domain.
The principles apply to any field, not just sports. Common citizens need to know where do they fit in the national/international system with their talent, and what chances do they stand for inching forward, not necessarily being the ultimate winner. Equal emphasis on ethics will help character-building. The means are as important as the end. The journey is as important as the destination.