I have been wondering for a while now about a simple question. Why does our culture hate it when someone is going above and beyond? Why is high achievement looked down upon by our peers? Today, I experienced this very effect while at a program meeting. Allow me to explain. There is a project that requires a certain amount of writing. Now this project was supposed to encompass our views from our entire job placement in Ireland within the 7-week internship. This report is supposed to be 14 pages long... just 14 pages for almost two days of daily entries. Anyone that has read this blog knows that I love to write so when I saw that it was 14 pages DOUBLE SPACED! Really? That is not enough. Seven pages of writing are not enough to sum up the deep pontifications from almost two months.
When asking about the requirements to understand whether it would be ok to write more, my peers scoffed, laughed, and became perturbed. Why? Why is it so bad that I want to do a little bit more than the minimum? You will say, "But, James, if the minimum was enough, why would you want to do more?" Well, to that I say this: we are abroad in a foreign country for the longest time than you have ever been away from everything that is normal to you. I have to say that there is plenty that I would like to talk about. I have been thinking critically about those aspects of my experience that are not "normal" and have noticed some very interesting differences. I want to write about it - I want to have something tangible to show for my time here.
Why does that threaten society when someone would like to do a little bit more? I do not think that it threatens to unbalance the world or shake the status quo. Are we a society that is afraid to push a little bit harder for fear of filling the voids of our lives that we currently fill with mind-numbing television? Or does it come to something much more personal? Perhaps it would not have mattered if it were one of their friends, but because it had been me, an outsider, it was acceptable to be openly perturbed. I cannot really figure it out.
Do you have any experiences like this? Any ideas as to why we as a society dislike those that push the minimum requirements? Leave a comment and we will get back to you.