On Receiving Credit

Here’s my question. Is it important to receive credit for an idea if it manages to make it out into the real world? Should you care if no one knows it was your idea? On one hand, there’s a certain power in not caring about credit. On the other, not taking credit means that you’re not in a position to leverage whatever respect it would confer. Maybe there’s no straightforward answer and it’s conditional. Maybe only an introvert would ask. If this blog had readers, we could hash it out. I think I can say that I’m not overly concerned about credit and that when I do receive some, I’m not sure what to do with it. It does please me to have a little, mostly because it seems to lead to further opportunities.

The truth is that credit for anything worthwhile is almost never the pure property of a single individual. The 20th century made a god out of originality, and sadly it still has many adherents willing to sacrifice at its altar.

To be clear, I’m not talking about credit for creative output. I think that’s clearcut. (I should mention that the photo of tourists climbing the ancient Mayan pyramid at Koba was taken by my daughter, Frida Galt.) I’m referring to engagement with the community, which has taken up a significant amount of time over the past several years. When I was a kid I was in awe of how many moving parts our civilization has… How do we know how many waste management companies we need? Who dreams of being a speech therapist? Our market economy is an efficient, but often cruel, way of making these things happen. A lot of what’s left over is taken care of by Boards. I didn’t  understand that until relatively recently. And it’s in this arena—where credit is detached, mostly, from financial renumeration—that the question becomes interesting.

Blog note: Eight months into the year and about as many posts! Not good!

Update: I’m not one to follow various marketing gurus, but this post by Seth Godin floated past my awareness and it succinctly expresses how I feel about this subject: The Goal isn’t credit. The goal is change.

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