The Power of Acknowledgement | Lift Heavy Run Long
Beefcake#14

What is more important to you, income or acknowledgement?

That was the questioned which was recently posed to me. I was asked if I were more driven by praise or money. The answer was simple, praise. I’m an extrovert. For better or worse, I rely on the outside world to provide my sense of worth. It’s pretty sad, I know, but it is what I do.

Since being asked this question, I have asked it to numerous people. I have been shocked to find that every person with whom I have spoken, has said that praise or acknowledgement is more important to them than money. I don’t know what that means, and I don’t think that it needs to mean anything. I do, however, believe that it is important to be aware that for a lot of people, a simple compliment or word of praise is more valuable to them than cash itself. Now, keep in mind, I am talking about a survey sample of about five people, but it was unanimous, all the way across the board. Acknowledgement is a currency that is in abundant, even unlimited supply, but sometimes we hold onto it as if they ain’t making any more of it.

Just this Saturday, the children and I were cruising through Whole Foods after Grayson’s soccer game. Right there in the produce section, was Grayson’s hero, Marc Gasol. Being that Mr. Gasol was enjoying time with his wife and young child, we were careful to be respectful of him and his personal space. I wrestled between the idea of allowing him to just be another dude…. OR jumping on his shoulders, kissing him on the cheeks, and trying to schedule dinner, while having him sign my bosom and every piece of paper I could find. We had a family huddle. I told Grayson, just acknowledge Marc and give him a “thumbs-up”. We just want to acknowledge him and be able to say that we had an encounter with Big Spain.

As Grayson anxiously approached the general area of Mr. Gasol, you could see his nerves building. Grayson made a slight lunge towards him, with one hand in his pocket, he gave a wave, along with an almost inaudible, “hey”. There was no response. As Grayson turned and looked at me for the next cue, and myself, honestly, being somewhat nervous, I nodded at Grayson to move towards Gasol. About that time, just as Grayson was making his final attempt, Marc locked eyes with my son. This was the moment. This was the opportunity for Mr. Gasol to decide how he wanted to be remembered inside the walls of the Horrell house.  There was no “right” or “wrong” way to handle this. Marc Gasol is not contractually obligated to acknowledge or speak to every kid he runs into at the grocery store. He has every right in the world to ignore, or even tell him to get lost. I am sure that being the most recognizable man in Memphis has it’s drawbacks.

My son, having halfway accepted that his attempt to say hello were going to be ignored, anxiously twittled the fingers of his young and impressionable hands, he started to walk away. As Marc Gasol broke eyes with his own child in a baby carrier, and locked eyes with my son, you could almost see Grayson starting to levitate from the ground. Mr. Gasol broke into a smile that was just as genuine and true as anyone can muster. He took a moment to lean his oversized body down to my son’s level and lock eyes with him for an intimate moment. “How you doing, buddy?”, he said to Grayson. I decided to open my mouth and throw out the most unoriginal and douchiest comment I could think of, and said “he is your biggest fan.” (facepalm)  Marc briefly shot me a glance and was immediately back to the heroic smile and small dialogue which he was engaged with my son. “Well it is good to know you, pal” is how Marc left it, and we all turned our backs and walked off trying not to scream, like a couple of teenage freshman girls who had just taken a picture with the senior quarterback.

This acknowledgement was important. This was an individual who had literally about a twenty second window between being forever known as the bum who was too good to say hi to my kid, or the hero who took a moment just to acknowledge that he existed. This is the difference between changing the channel during Grizzlies games, to buying everything with the word Gasol on it. This moment in time is where a ten year old boy comes to realize that all humans are human, and everyone is approachable (assuming security permits and you are not wearing a vest made of C-4). In many ways this is unfair, and we should not base our opinion on such a small interaction….but we do. It’s the society we live in. It’s human nature.

I guess that what I am trying to say is, the difference between an engaging smile and a decent thing to say versus being so caught up in your own life that you don’t make time to interact can be crucial. If not for you, then maybe the other person. People like me are literally, for better or for worse, basing their self-worth on your willingness to say “hello”, to crack a smile, or tell them “good job”. I don’t know what kind of payout will be in it for you, but I support the causes of those who support me. It might just be that acknowledgement produces income, all the same. Regardless, if we lived through a currency of kindness and income was acknowledgement, you would certainly be a wealthy individual.

Peace, Love, and all things Beef related,

Beefcake

My name is Wilson Horrell, aka “Beefcake”.  I’m a junkie turned sober that found CrossFit, running, and community to be my new addiction. I have no education or experience as a writer, and almost zero knowledge of grammar. I love sitting in front of a computer and spitting it out on paper as it goes through my brain. I hope you enjoy reading, and feel free to reach out or comment at anytime!

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