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Why We Need To Cut Through Australia’s Tall Poppy Syndrome

Australia’s love of an underdog is really special and unique – it goes hand in hand with our belief that everyone deserves a fair go.

But we’re also renowned for being the first to cut down anyone who might stand out.

Tall Poppy Syndrome has become synonymous with Australian culture, but is it time to rethink our approach to success?

Dr Rumeet Billan, author of 2023 study ‘The Tallest Poppy’, says that we might need to reflect on ourselves:

Dr Billan suggests that we need to be more accountable to ourselves and not brush it off as a part of our culture.

“It starts with every single one of us,” Dr Billan says. “How we choose to act, react, as well as interact.”

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Tall Poppy Syndrome stems from feelings of jealousy or resentment towards others for their achievements or for standing out.

The phrase comes from the idea that poppies are meant to grow together, and poppies that grow too tall will be cut down.

Is this a unique part of the Australian identity? Or should we be evolving away from it?

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