Weekender: Bob Dylan on Expressing Gratitude

bob-dylanWelcome to another edition of leadersayswhat’s the Weekender, an acoustic thought to start your weekend on the right track. Why acoustic (versus going electric)? Because it’s the weekend!

Last week, Bob Dylan became the first musician to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. In his Dylan-eque way, he did not make any of the public statements that typically follow receiving such a prestigious honor. In fact, he has not acknowledged it at all. Some people at the Swedish Academy, which awards the prize, are not pleased with Dylan’s ambivalence.

One can say that it is impolite and arrogant. He is who he is.—Per Wastberg, member of the Swedish Academy

There are a few reasons why you should think twice before following Dylan’s lead. First (and this cannot be stressed enough), you aren’t Bob Dylan. He has been an influential songwriter, singer, and artist for over fifty years, selling more than 100 million records, publishing six books, and being exhibited in major art galleries around the world. Dylan has won Grammy, Golden Globe, and Academy Awards; been inducted into numerous musical Hall of Fames; and been awarded a Pulitzer Prize and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Once you’ve done one of these things, you can consider being flippant about winning a Nobel Prize.

The second reason you should avoid ignoring a major honor is that being “too cool” is a very rock ‘n roll move. If you work in the rock world or in an industry with a similar attitude, disregarding a public tribute can enrich street cred. For the rest of us, you will be seen as a snobbish egomaniac, not a captivating, rebellious artist.

If someone is astute enough to recognize your genius, say thank you. Why sabotage a relationship over someone attempting to offer a nice gesture? Whether or not you want the accolade, show appreciation for the effort they made to honor you. The minute it will take to express gratitude is easy, free, and reaffirms why you deserve the win.

One Reply to “Weekender: Bob Dylan on Expressing Gratitude”

  1. Doing anything expecting thanks is a poor reason for doing something YOU may perceive is commendable. My comment to Per Wastberg would be to handle it and chill out. Bob Dylan earned his awards, they were not awarded altruistically. Thank yous are not necessary as they are for us when someone does something which we appreciate. And judging people says more about the judge than about those judged.

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