6 January 2014

Why is it that people who possess the most extraordinary abilities become the prime targets for others to take a pop at? It’s not a new phenomenon either; this removal of talent from society can be tracked back in history for decades. When people achieve great heights, there is often a harem of people lower down the ladder trying to shake them off and make them fall.

The inclination of society to target those who make the biggest difference to the world is not just detrimental to those in the firing line. I think, over time, we’ve done ourselves a huge disservice. Once people start getting well-known, they attract scrutiny and cynicism and, at best, this is a huge distraction. At worst, it contributes to that person’s downfall or stops them from achieving great things.

There is a gap between where we are now and where we could have been. What might Turing have achieved if he hadn’t been deemed a security risk simply because of his sexuality? And what turns would history have taken if Mandela hadn’t been in prison for all those years?

Think about the future too; how many people who could go on to make a positive difference or influence others will be put off through fear of becoming a target and having people traipse through their personal lives? It is so hard to get somewhere in life but so easy to fall.

Perhaps 2014 will be the year that we, as a society, start allowing ourselves to share in other people’s achievements without feeling jealous or trying to find fault. There’s a lot more worth in improving yourself than there is in diminishing someone else.

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