Setting the Standard

On many occasions, I have been accused of being a language snob.  In fact I have been accused of being all types of snob; of believing that I am better than other people and that I look down on people. As with everybody else in this world, I have my peculiarities and there are actions that I dislike. However, generally speaking I do not believe that I am superior to anyone, nor do I believe that I am inferior to anyone. I have standards, and I will not compromise those standards to simply fit it.

Let’s have a look at standards from a different perspective.

An ‘E’ grade is a pass in the General Certificate of Education Advanced Level entry exam – is it not? Therefore individuals who attain a base pass at Advance Levels have met basic entry level requirements for University. They have passed the exam which is needed to enter tertiary level education. Therefore, logically speaking, individuals who possess E grades at A’ Levels should be permitted entry into top notch universities such as Oxford or Cambridge. Then why do the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge only allow those individuals who have attained the best grades, within their walls? In order to belong to an institution as upstanding and prestigious as Oxford, an individual has to have excellent grades. A pass is insufficient to be allowed a place within their exclusive walls. Is that snobbery? Or is it having high standards? Should either of these Universities reduce their standards to simply include everyone?

Society is competitive and being equipped to compete in this  reality of life, is important.

Another perspective:

If a doctor conducting your heart surgery spoke to you in the following manner, how would you feel?

Doctor: “Lemme see, so you have like a broken heart or whatever.”

Patient: “Err, yes.”

Doctor: “Well I suppose we could just fix you up, no biggie.”

You would lack confidence in the doctor’s ability. As the doctor comes across as unprofessional, lacking in experience and being of an inferior quality.

Does your feeling towards the doctor mean that you are judgmental and hating, or are you smart for having high standards and expecting superior service? In fact unprofessional behaviour could result in the termination of  a doctors tenure.

A person’s standards affects their perception of the world, it determines whether or not they deem received behaviour acceptable, and it sets the tone for how an individual treats others.  If a someone’s personal standard is low, then that person may accept being treated poorly by others, or individuals could have very little expectations from themselves.

The above examples may seem straight forward and possibly very obvious. Since Oxford and Cambridge are  historically established institutions – the standards of will not be questioned. The same sort of status applies for the medical profession. It’s a historically established and respected profession. However  Regular Joe off the street, who does not possess the status of a historically established institution, is expected to conform to the opinions of society at large. And when Regular Joe does not conform there will be repercussions.

In my naivete, I am regularly surprised as to why anyone would be berated for not jumping on the bandwagon? I can be a celeb-gossip junkie. In my quest of satisfying my nosy nature I’ve discovered that that in many celebrity interviews  if one celeb is not 100% supportive of another, that celebrity is accused of being a hater and more often than not the response is  Haters will hate. (Refer to anything  kimye)

Personally I dislike some of the actions of  a couple of ethnically Caribbean performers. I am not a fan of exposed breasts in the media, nor do I particularly find self-degrading lyrics engaging. I will not support any music which expresses that a woman needs to engage in casual sex with a drug dealer in order to receive highly priced Alexander McQueen items. It’s not my cup of tea, if it’s yours – then drink up. This does not mean that I think the artist is untalented or that I am hating, in fact there are other songs that I like by these particular artists.

The reality is, I do not have to pretend to like something or be supportive if it does not mesh with my value system. As well as it is unfair that anyone should berate me for my preferences. In an ideal world no one would fear sharing their opinion nor would they have to resort to false flattery or hypocritical support just to fit-in.

It is amazing how many times false flattery is confused with positive reinforcement. In fact positive reinforcement* is an amazing thing. I fully support positive reinforcement but I do not support false flattery as I believe it encourages low standards.

False flattery only seeks to inflate the ego even where there is poor quality, whereas positive reinforcement seeks to encourage and repeat consistent positive outcomes. Mind you I’m not saying destroy a person’s ego altogether. I think another example may be required.

Girl comes home from work, she’s just been fired. Her mother attempts to console her.

Girl: “I got fired today.”

Mum: “Those people were just morons, they didn’t see how valuable you are.”

Girl: “They listed high absenteeism and insubordination in the dismissal letter.”

Mum: “Oh don’t worry with what they say, they are the ones with the problem, not you. You’re better off this way.”

Girl: “They didn’t pay me enough anyway.”

I know the above situation is a tad exaggerated but this happens more often than you may think. I’m not saying pull a Gordon Ramsey and destroy a person’s psyche. Maybe if her mum was more honest, she could have possibly started accepting that she was at fault in her dismissal and recognise that she needs to improve her work ethic.

Imagine if the conversation went this way.

Girl: “I got fired today.”

Mum: “Oh, did you? Did they say why?”

Girl: “They listed high absenteeism and insubordination on the dismissal letter.”

Mum: “Okay, fair enough. You had been staying at home pretty often. At least now you know that tardiness and absenteeism matter to employers, you’ll know better the next time.”

Girl: “Yeah you’re right, I should have behaved more professionally.”

Again a massive exaggeration. I do not know anyone including myself who readily accepts wrong at the first draw especially within an emotional crisis.

In the first situation you can see how a low standard of work ethic resulted in a dismissal. If she had a higher standard then maybe she would have expected a better performance from herself.

Human beings have one commonality, that is everyone is uniquely different and each person possesses different standards. It is how we deal with those differences that sets us apart. Perception and personal experiences influence and inform the way we evaluate and create conclusions about our friends, family and strangers and our lives in general. Although it is wonderful to belong and experience a sense of social solidarity, compromising personal standards or beliefs should not be the ‘go to’  in the quest to fit it. As  compromising personal value systems invites the risk of leading a dissatified life.

* An article on positive reinforcement.

http://psychology.about.com/od/operantconditioning/f/positive-reinforcement.htm

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