Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Tall Poppies


I was listening to Triple J on the way home from work on Friday and they were discussing the notion of Tall Poppy Syndrome. This is the idea that people who have genuinely earnt their successes, talents or achievements are being ridiculed, resented or cut down by their peers. It occurred to me that yes, this is definitely something I see living in Australia. By saying that, I am not trying to generalise, but having lived here my whole life I am unable to compare it with another country.

Much like most of the topics they cover on Hack, this one has stayed with me long after I turned the radio off. I feel a lot like it has really changed my approach to the achievements of others. I feel like of all the people I know, there is this blank canvas of who they are as an individual then there is the job title of how it is they make a living. But that is it really. I don't feel that anyone has ever told me how they got to be a small business owner or how it is they managed to become a working mum.

I have been writing for years and every day is a struggle to get my ass into gear. But I know I am only still in the beginning days and that I have success to come, yet I have poured so much of myself into this pending career of mine. And others are there already and I don't feel I have applauded them for their efforts yet. Maybe we undervalue what we can achieve in a lifetime. Maybe by undervaluing the small achievements we are cutting the opportunity for the larger achievements to happen.

Maybe we are too humble in our successes? When I graduated from high school five years ago, I wondered what I would have achieved by 22 (here I am) and to be perfectly honest, I had no idea what was next. I did imagine lawyers and doctors and pilots however. But looking at the people I went to school with now, I see that many of them are married and have children and have bought homes for themselves. This may sound like the basic A to B of life but when you actually step back and think about each step... damn that is impressive. They say parenting is the hardest job in the world.

My best friend is about to become a nurse. To many that sounds like just a job, but she is saving lives every day. She is doing the unthinkable and the impossible and she has worked so incredibly hard for years to get to this stage without ever saying "hey look at me". My boyfriend is about 30 hours from receiving his Commercial Pilots License. He has been working towards this for a good while before we even met. Yet he doesn't tell people what he is about to achieve; he doesn't want people to think differently of him.

In writing this, I hope you too start to notice the achievements of others, and of course yourself. Treasure them. We work hard to change the world, or even just our internal world so please never forget what you are trying to achieve. Keep on keeping on; we are here to back you up :)

{Image: Unknown} - will find credit.


  • June 14, 2012 at 9:07 PM

    this was a really interesting post, and funnily enough a topic i was thinking about recently. I definitely agree with you (and it seems most other people) that this tall poppy thing is pretty prevalent in australia. we don't really like those who are filthy rich (even if they've earned it), and look down at the elite to some extent. I think it's because of our history that we love supporting the 'underdog', the person who embodies the 'average australian', and this is seen through our support of sports and celebrities, even the tv shows we like.
    In the field that I will one day work in however (science and medicine), I feel like AUS doesn't give researchers enough recognition and support as they do our sportsmen. This is a bit of a problem because we have such talented scientists and potential, but many of them go overseas to seek success because there is just not enough support or recognition here for research.

    Anyhow, enough rambling from me, I really loved reading this post :)

  • June 19, 2012 at 3:53 PM

    Thanks Annie :) I find it really interesting too! Just one of those things that are on my mind a lot! And I think youre right! We do seem to favour the underdog hehe :) What job are you hoping for? Science and medicine are amaizng alone, let alone together :) I absolutely agree too, off head I can't think of any 'recognised and celebrated' scientists or doctors other that Fred Hollows (I hope I got his name right) but a million celebrities, sure! I feel sometimes that we are celebrating the obvious skills and mocking the skills which take specific effort :( Im really glad you liked the post :) And goodluck with your future career, it sounds amazing already :)
    x Melissa

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