Years ago, about ten of us (amongst about 200 SS2 students) were called up for a mini competition to decide the five who would be representing the school in science fairs, more importantly to select the two to represent the school in an impending competition. I was fresh from dazzling in my first year in senior secondary school as I had shown my immense grasp of basic mathematics. I had also committed to memory, over 100 elements of the periodic table in order of their atomic masses (it seemed to be a big deal back then) and I had caught up quite well in Physics and Further Mathematics after a slow start that had me scoring just 4/20 in the first tests of each of the subjects.
Okay, enough of the preamble. You get the drift; I was a mini superstar, as you probably were too.
So… at the round table in the conference room, questions were thrown at us, the sciences first, then Mathematics last. My colleagues racked up the points, I bungled most of mine embarrassingly, stoichometric questions most especially dealing me a huge blow.
I stared on, waiting for the nightmare to end, side-eyeing my counterparts, Victor in particular as the answers drifted like honey from his anointed lips. Infact, I saw the honey (sideeye), I smelled the refreshing air its fragrance gave off as time trickled slowly. I couldn’t wait to girraradia (get-out-of-there). Then the adjudicator announced that it was time for the last section, Mathematics. My face brightened up. Needless to say, I got all my answers correctly, as well as multiple bonus answers to questions some of them could not answer. Then the last round involved questions from all the subjects again (to ensure the selected ones are well rounded since I had caught up by the time in terms of overall scores I suppose). I did pretty well this time around, so I was chosen as Victor’s ‘running mate’. The joy in my heart was unquantifiable.
What gave me a boost was my excellence in what I was very good at; Mathematics. I couldn’t even see the scoreboard, so there was no way I could see exactly how badly I was doing. All I knew was I had to do better, and better I did as I kept grinding till the results came.
Imagine a basketball player, eyes fixed on the scoreboard at all times. How well will he be able to ‘watch his man’ or make a dunk or pass or whatever? How can he successfully multitask, monitoring the changes in scores as well as the movements around the court. I’d reckon it’ll be a needle eye and camel stuff.
The point is most of us have mastered the art of scoreboard watching. We focus on how the next fellow is getting ahead or how much we’re lagging behind such that the work necessary to do, the art necessary for us to create to even stand a chance of our scores on the scoreboard increasing are left unattended.
Do much less of scoreboard watching and more of grinding (working) to ensure your output in the things you’re good at. Keep going. Rack up the points. Sharpen your skills, takes time and effort, but what else would you rather do?
Have a solid week.