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May 3, 2016

He Only Picked The Best

     I've always had a problem with authority, the upper hand, the boss. The teachers at my school, the Program Director at my work place or even my mother for that matter, all of their powers disturbed me(It still does!). Among everything that they had control over, or thought they had control over, was their power to tell you that you're wrong, that you're not good enough and to be able to pick out the best among the class.
     We've all faced that moment when we were not among the special group of golden students, workers or players who had supposedly achieved above average performances. The absurdity behind this age-old practice of "picking out the best" hit me the most in my previous work place. Whenever we had to show-case our programs diversity, milestones achieved, competencies of team-players and so on and so forth, our program director would pick out the "best of the best", in his opinion and train them further to play out the best show. If an image of puppets dancing around came into your head then you are probably not that wrong.

     Weeding out the non-performers we call it. Yes, apparently equating people to weeds is considered "good for performance and results" in our society. More often than not the same "achievers" got picked for every event or seminar. Which meant that the amount of training they received, the exposure they got and the networks they could create began to grow far more than the rest of the group. I have a question coming to mind, not sure what exactly, but Equality is certainly there somewhere!

     What's so wrong with this practice you ask? Doesn't it motivate the "non-achievers" to perform you say? Let me give you my favourite example. Imagine a class of a hundred children. According to our utterly misconstrued understanding of Darwin's survival of the fittest theory, we pick out about one or two or a maximum of five "best players". We congratulate them, we train them further and provide them with opportunities we think they deserve(Let's not even talk about privileges and neurology here!). The question here is, what about the rest of the 95?

     NO! The reality is that the rest of them are not "motivated" to do better, on the contrary, they are de-motivated, their self-respect and self-confidence is massacred and we push them further into oblivion where they aren't recognised or mentored for the progress they make at their own pace(the key word being 'at their own pace' here). The hundred pupils in the class today are going to become full grown citizens of our world tomorrow.

     The bottom line is that we are churning out population after population that believes only a very small percentage of them is good enough and the rest just keep on trying and trying and trying to be like that "top-tier", that honestly, got recognised once or twice for good work and were later picked out thanks to intrinsic bias on the part of the authority figure and something called the Pygmalion effect (trust me, look this theory up! especially if you are someone who is responsible for a lot of young minds)

     The pain behind rejection hit me the most when I saw and heard from the people who doubted their abilities and almost gave up working on themselves only because of having experienced rejection at the hands of our program director, team-mates who were not "good and refined enough" to be representing our program in front of outsiders.

     He isn't the only one doing the apple-picking, we as a society do it to our children and young minds everyday - in schools, in work-places, at homes, etc. We continue to make a large population of our communities doubt themselves and wonder what they are good for, when infact every individual is truly unique and capable of contributing to anything and everything around them and bigger than them. If only my program manager, my teachers and even my mother knew that they could too, just by tweaking their attitude towards "failures" and looking at them as equal opportunities(the key word being "equal" here).

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