In recent times, I have been fascinated with why ‘seemingly qualified’ hands are re-gifted opportunities to add more accomplishments to their already numerous and lofty successes. It appears that only those who display a certain desired antecedent or record of accomplishments (track record) are bequeathed opportunities and challenges – oftentimes at the detriment of other seemingly qualified greenhorns. It is a phenomenon – or bias – that is recurring in individuals, businesses, societies, governments and virtually every instance that a decision has to be made. For example, I would be inclined to patronize a food vendor who has been moderately reliable in delivering good service than a new entrant that offers comparatively slightly better benefits to me as a consumer; also, governments often award contracts to companies with a rich history in a tackling a defined challenge as against upstarts who are yet to prove their mettle.
So how can one be aligned to benefit from this bias? I’d give two personal stories, draw illustrations from an influential person and conclude.
Back in my secondary school days, I remember scoring perfect in the theory section of one of my biology term-exams – possibly the only instance I attained such a score. Biology was my least loved science subject, thus it was a big surprise for me. After checking my scripts, I noticed my teacher had cancelled a few responses that were less than accurate, written the correct answer, and given me full marks. I cogitated over this, and it wasn’t too long before I discovered I had done exceptionally well in my tests, class-works and multiple choice exam (track record), hence my teacher felt obligated to be gracious with her marks and thus I ended with a score that was higher than my efforts.
In my university days, during our graduation year, a course mate who had done exceptionally well in previous semesters – racking a perfect grade point average in five of the previous eight semesters (track record) – was been tipped to be the best graduating student in the school. It was a possibility, but there were other equally deserving contestants from other departments and faculties with ostensibly better grades. Despite the internal competition within the class, a number of us were willing to lodge a request for a review of papers where this said course mate had less than an ‘A’ grade – to simply boost his chances of clinching this coveted prize. I remember a course the class took and a number of us (including this course mate and myself) felt we had been dealt unfavorable grades – I badly needed the ‘favorable grade’. Every petitioner had grade ‘B’ except my friend who had a grade ‘A’, scoring 72. His grouse: at that stage of his undergraduate studies, he was unsatisfied with a seventy ‘A’ and desired a ninety ‘A’ – we were still in 300 level. It turns out he didn’t need the extra input and his final grade was self-sufficient to graduate as the school’s valedictorian.
Mrs. Ibukun Awosika is one woman I respect for being a paradigm of excellence and most importantly, for espousing two seemingly divergent attributes in Nigeria today – being godly and having a successful business. I remember listening to her recount how she got on Cadbury’s board of directors without ever vying for the position. Basically, with what she had accomplished with her business and her integrity (track record), businesses sought her to lead their strategic operations. Thus, it wasn’t unexpected that First Bank of Nigeria would also seek her on their board not just as a board member but the Chairperson – th e first time a woman would occupy such lofty position in the company’s history.
It seems that at some point in time or one’s life, everything seems to go on auto-pilot. This further emphasizes the notion that the earlier stages of one’s life have a greater impact on the outcome of a life – a sought of domino or ripple effect. Basically, what habits one forms, one’s decision to commit to excellence, integrity, diligence, perseverance and learning as personal values, and most importantly when this is done, would give a good indication of how a life turns out. The importance of now can never be overstated!
What can I say Chrisyinks? Even the Bible says "Whoever has shall be given more, and they will have an abundance..." Mattew 13:12.
As per your ending paragraphs, I cannot agree more.