Waqas Younas

Not giving due credit

January 03, 2020

Many times I see people in Pakistan sharing someone else’s useful thoughts without giving due credit to that person. I see it at work as well as in social and print media.

At work, people forget to give credit to the deserving person in meetings or company events. As for social media, yesterday I saw a person with a large following doing something bizarre. He copied a quote from someone else verbatim and published it as if it were his own thought. In print, I see people borrow ideas in their newspaper columns without giving credit.

Not giving credit to the person giving you a profitable thought is like not being grateful to the person who gifts you something useful. Not only is it a selfish act, but it is also imprudent. Because, though you might gain respect for a moment if you steal someone else’s good thoughts, you will lose it when people discover the actual source. Not giving due credit also signals you are neither ethical nor kind, for kind people return kindness with kindness.

Who is so inconsiderate as to not return kindness with kindness? Those who have no morality. Those who want to immediately gratify their desires in this culture of instant gratification instead of undertaking long toil to perfect their craft. Those who do what is profitable to them but not what is right.

If this issue is so important, why do people disregard it? Why then do people not give appropriate credit or cite resources? The emphasis on the importance of giving credit must start early in school. To this day, our schools neglect it. Students rarely cite sources, and teachers hardly refer to them. Thus a good habit is never cultivated in most people.

Schools alone are not responsible for this. Parents should also share the responsibility. One way to do that is always ask children for the source if they present something new. Another way is to keep reminding them about how would they feel if they were not given due attribution for their ideas. Parents must shower praise not when their children steal ideas but when they come up with novel ideas crediting other people whose thought they benefit from.

What do you gain by giving credit? The more you credit other people, the more you raise your profile. This is true for three reasons: First, people will recognize you as someone who reads a lot and gathers input from diverse sources. Second, people will realize you do not steal. Third, you will be distinguished as someone who is ethical.

All of us must realize that new ideas rarely spring from one person alone. No one ever loses respect, but only gains it, by giving credit. We must give credit to people who deserve it.