I hate it when I recieve any sort of praise for something that I did a half-assed job on. I know that a lot of people appreciate being appreciated no matter what but the thing about easily gained praise is that, in my opinion, easily gained praise dilutes accomplishment because it shows that people don't differentiate between something carefully and excellently done and something that's just done well. It crops up most often in school where you get weird things like a paper full of red marks and corrections that's an A...which makes you wonder why you would bother making the suggested corrections.
It also comes through in life though, like when someone says they really liked your speech even though you screwed it up or a cashier at a supermarket randomly compliments you on your weight loss even though you aren't close to finished.
It's very frustrating because you wonder "Okay...what's left for the REAL accomplishments?" Or at least I do. This happened recently even in LJ where someone commented in their journal that I was a good writer even though I have not written anything on LJ that could qualify as better than "sloppy." That undervalues what I could do if I really decided to make a concerted effort.
Yeah I shouldn't worry so much about what other people think and yes there are good reasons for self motivated achievement but it irks me to no end that standards are so relative and so...low. A speech isn't good just because it's better than the crap that most of the rest of the people spew out. A paper isn't good just because it makes more sense than the illogical rantings of a drunken student written 30 minutes before class.
I think in the past standards were more objective and much higher and I would really have liked a chance to prove myself by those standards. There's also the matter of standards now being low enough that everyone can achieve them so it's hard to seperate yourself from the pack. It isn't neccesary that everybody have the potential to recieve an A for a class to be fairly graded, just like it isn't neccesary for anyone to be able to defeat anyone else for a race to be fair.
I feel sometimes like I'm running a race where the final time is only recorded in hours...so if you finish 54 minutes before someone else you are considered tied. If that's the case what's the point in running your hardest?