In the case of design, this is far from the truth. However, I just came across an article about a recent commencement address. The speaker makes the claim that none of us our special because of trophies, accolades, awards or anything of the like since, throughout our country and the world, there's someone else who has the exact same thing. I just posted about LEED and other certifications the other day, and ironically, stumbled on this article today.
The full transcript can be found here. Below is my favorite line from it:
"... I urge you to do whatever you do for no reason other than you love it and believe in its importance."
I'd say life and design are one in the same.