All of us use these words widely while discussing our careers, jobs and resumes. But can we tell the difference between an achievement and an accomplishment? The are also used as synonyms. There is a subtle difference between the two. When you use the right nuance in the right place, you will impress your audience with the proficient level of your language skills. It goes without saying that the audience also needs to be proficient enough to recognize and acknowledge the same in you.
An achievement is an act which leads to a sense of fulfillment, something that is done admirably. Achievement is often associated with ranks, percentage or a GPA. The focus is on quantitative scores whether they be highly competitive exams like qualifying exams for engineering programs in IITs, NITs, IIITs, or NEET for medical programs. Standardized tests for entry into highly competitive universities in the USA like the SAT for undergraduate programs, the GMAT for management programs, the GRE for technical programs, they certainly establish one's reputation.
Achievement is defined and administered by various institutions and achievers strive to come into the top performers' list. It is possible to have a string of achievements without that person being truly interested in that task. Most students give preference to achievements as the dividends of pursuing them are high -- there is more money, more opportunities, and more status.
Accomplishment is a skill or any acquired ability or knowledge. It is an activity that a person can do well with practice. The successful achievement of a task.
Unlike achievement, accomplishment is often driven by self-motivation. It often describes qualitative outcomes of a skill, a talent, a passion, an interest, a curiosity. Someone reads a book because he or she wishes to learn more, someone seeks to learn how to play the tabla because he has a talent. Accomplishments are pursued for personal satisfaction as well as public recognition.
Accomplishments may be described in more abstract terms than achievements. Those who pursue accomplishments often leverage their emotional skills.
What should parents do? Encourage children to pursue achievements or accomplishments?