Accolades & Competition

The accolade was the central act in the rite of passage ceremonies conferring knighthood in the Middle Ages. From the mid-1800’s, the term accolade was then used much more generally to mean “praise” or “award” or “honor.” Awards are ultra-subjective, hierarchical, competitive, and egotistical, which are all things to avoid.


As a filmmaker, every time I look at another director’s website, I will usually always find a list of awards. All of which are secretly saying “look how great I am” because others have told me so and look how much better and popular I am than you because a sanctioned inner club has said so.

As young sprouts, we are taught to play organized sports, which are good for tribe building and exercise but bad for a “your team our team” mindset and the sense of “healthy competition” (which is really unhealthy competition) which they indoctrinate young minds into. The ladder climbing mindset of “I must have a gold medal and anything less is a failure” is considered greatness in an immature society which is grossly hierarchical, hence the youth trophy is something thought to strive for and excellence is claimed to be collecting gold stars in the classroom or on an Olympic podium. This system sucks ass because there can only ever be one winner while everyone else feels partially unfulfilled since ultimately one person wins while all the others lose. It also highlights it’s immaturity through being goal oriented, wanting a prise, like the little kid at the arcade pumping quarters into the claw machine to attain a cheap made in China stuffed animal. Compared to being maturely process oriented and simply enjoying the act itself without needing a sparkly price or piece of material gain. If you can find a little kid who cares about the act itself more than the reward, then good for them and they are on the future path to becoming a little zen buddha.

There is a massive difference between competition, which inspires fear and scarcity, and creativity for all, which inspires abundance. Here’s a quote from a man who knew a thing or two about this, Wallace D Wattles, regarding the mindset of competition vs the mindset of creativity.

“There is a thinking stuff from which all things are made, and which, in its original state, permeates, penetrates, and fills the interspaces of the universe. A thought in this substance produces the thing that is imaged by the thought.

Man can form things in his thought, and by impressing his thought upon formless substance can cause the thing he thinks about to be created.

In order to do this, man must pass from the competitive to the creative mind; otherwise, he cannot be in harmony with the Formless Intelligence, which is always creative and never competitive in spirit.”

So the universe will only let you get so far in your development until you mature beyond competition. The biblical phrase “let thy will be done” not “let my will be done” highlights this through the mindset of help yourself first so only then you can help others.

A cheesy picture of Niles with 16+ gold statues from other folks he’s been associated with.

A cheesy picture of Niles with 16+ gold statues from other folks he’s been associated with.

Since most folks can’t think for themselves and need others to tell them what is quality, entertainment industries for example, really seem to care about competitive awards. What’s that say about the industries? As someone who has actually won an award or two I recognize within the structures of an entertainment profession that they help your “career” and are important for allowing your material to be seen, and more secretly to egotistically be able to raise your rate, which equates to your time being more valuable — fair enough. However, the awards I have won have in no way been for my best projects.

A common theme in entertainment industries is striving for laurels. These are bestowed by a tiny few, such those who run a film festival, which have subjectively decided they are the critics to allow what they deem worthy through because they have self-created a business card with their name and on the line below it says “gatekeeper”. But are these gatekeepers life-long established professionals in their field who have created excellent bodies of work themselves in the field they are gatekeeping, or are they self-appointed critics who have given themselves the keys into the kingdom and you must bow to them in order to be let in.

Trying to give a stamp of approval or claim any piece of art better than any other is like trying to go into the Louvre museum in Paris and choose your favorite renaissance painting. That doesn’t work in that environment due to museums generally having a higher sense of sophistication than to allow a rotten tomatoes style labeling of such high-antiquity works. We all know the Oscars are not what is really the best renaissance paint on film emulsion created that year but instead what is in the category of “Oscar-worthy”. Which really just means “work established amongst the ranks”.

Bow to no one. Don’t have champaign red carpet dreams. Nice feedback is great and if you do receive a Pulitzer or a Nobel prize it doesn’t mean you are better than if you never receive any. Attention and respect from your peers or those who like your work are never to be under-appreciated, as all timeless works do want to be seen and no artist wants their work to only be recognized posthumously after they have exited their meat body. But the only person you should be in competition with is yourself. Intrinsically, you’re constantly winning a deluge of private awards within yourself if you’re creating a body of work which continues to inspire you as well as others. And that list is long.