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Accomplishments and Achievements

We’re encouraged to accomplish and achieve, yes? From birth, we pass milestones. Generally these milestones grow in complexity as we add to our abilities - it’s been a while since I’ve been rewarded for not wetting myself - but they are usually on par with our abilities.

For example, we expect high school graduation of high schoolers, college graduation of college students, etc. Most (most) middle-schoolers are not forced into college prep. I pity those that are.

Maybe it’s my imagination, but there is a subtle tension between accomplishments and achievements.

Accomplishments seem to be external. Achievements seem to be more internal. Graduation, a job - this is an accomplishment. But would you say “Graduating college is an achievement”? Maybe.

How about feeling peace, or joy?

Achieve seems more tied to a state of being. An accomplishment is related to a task, or a state of doing.

Here’s my question - we strive for accomplishments, and encourage others to do the same. But does this happen at the expense of achieving a state of joy, or peace, or contentedness?

Here’s some definitions of these words. They didn’t clear it up for me:


|əˈkämpliSHmənt| noun something that has been achieved successfully: the reduction of inflation was a remarkable accomplishment. • the successful achievement of a task: the accomplishment of planned objectives. • an activity that a person can do well, typically as a result of study or practice: long-distance running was another of her accomplishments. • skill or ability in an activity: a poet of considerable accomplishment.


|əˈCHēvmənt| noun 1 a thing done successfully, typically by effort, courage, or skill: to reach this stage is a great achievement. 2 the process or fact of achieving something: the achievement of professional recognition | assessing ability in terms of academic achievement | a sense of achievement.

So green.

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