“The world more often rewards outward signs of merit than merit itself.” ~ La Rochefoucaul
A friend of mine and I have had many a discussion over the concept of "prestige". In my friend's line of work, she has come to dislike the idea of prestige, because all to often, the prestige that is afforded to her colleagues, turns out to be a farce in some ways because their skills and abilities don't seem live up to their given title. My friend also tends to think that the overall idea of prestige is an overrated thing; and that our concentration on it tends to lead to widespread works of mediocracy, ironically enough.
So the above definition might seem fitting in light of her viewpoint. Because despite the social weight that is often attached to this word, at the heart of it ultimately is this subjective little thing called "perception"; it suggests that prestige may only be in the eye of the beholder. In a way it seems like perception has the potential to deflate the air out of prestige...
In my line of work prestige matters, especially if you aspire to "break" into the music business. It seems to be the difference between just working in music and thriving as an accomplished artist. The questions are often, "What constitutes actual prestige? Reviews? Awards? Competitions? Music festivals? T.V. appearances?" Or "How much is enough prestige?" "How do you really know when you've 'arrived' as far as getting a nod from the music industry?....or for that matter, if you ever will....
Questions like these are of a certain level of importance in most musical artist's careers if they are looking to gain wider exposure and develop a solid audience for their work. Yet, we see all the time in the music business that prestige may have little to do with the level of talent an artist has, but everything to do with "connections" and "who you know".
The pressure to gain prestige can be a source of vexation for every artist, no matter what level of their career they may be at. For myself, I'll admit that the pressure can get to me at times, leaving me to draw similarities to the proverbial tree falling in a forest...."If I create music and the music industry doesn't acknowledge it, does my music career even exist?"
So this month I'm sharing a video addressing the idea of prestige. This video comes from one of my all time favorite internet personalities, Carmen Sognonvi. She has actually gone through many transformations of her career and that story in and of itself is pretty remarkable, because in her case she willingly walked away from the prestige she had gained. I love her message because it left me feeling more centered about what place prestige has in my life. I hope you'll find her message meaningful as well. Enjoy!