Tuesday, June 10, 2008

"Nothings Permanent,All We Have Are All Borrowed"

Judge People By What They Can Do,
Not By How They Look!

People in this society like to say "No condition is permanent" - which is a fact. And it implies that the fact that someone is sweeping floors at 11.59pm today in your company today, does not mean s/he cannot be the owner of his/her own successful business the next morning!
Many of us have also heard the saying that "Appearances can be deceptive". I once heard someone say in an American sitcom that "clothes don't make a man". Then there is the dictum "You cannot judge a book by its cover". This last one makes me ask why therefore people who should know better STILL insist on judging others by how they look at a point in time.

This problem persists despite many instances in which the folly of thinking that way has been proven. Some people just refuse to stop judging the ability or competence of others by their looks or appearances.

Society provides us ample evidence as we grow up, to support this NEED for us to always "look below the surface" before drawing conclusions. It reminds us of the need to avoid being superficial in our thinking. Yet, quite frequently, human beings fail (or forget...or refuse!) to take the cue.

In case you wonder how this habit/tendency constitutes a problem, I ask you to consider the possibility that a person(s) fond of judging people by outward appearances are chosen to help select "youthful talents" to represent a particular state in some competitive sporting events.
What is likely to happen is that the initial screening stages would be characterised by random assumptions being made about the abilities of the boys and girls who show up or apply. This could result in non-inclusion of some uniquely talented youngsters whose "looks" or unusual style do not impress the "officials".

Some examples may help here: Historical records tell us that Julius Caesar was an epileptic, yet his name is etched in history till today; Charles Dickens was lame, but that did not stop him from becoming a successful author; Plato was a hunchback, yet today many of us find it apt to quote him on various subjects that he chose to comment on.

Collin Powell started as a floor mopper but is today retired having served in one of the most exalted positions in the American Armed Forces and Government. And then there is the story of Helen (in my opinion "Superwoman") Keller, who was supposed to be multiply handicapped and yet recorded MORE achievements than most "normal" people...The list goes on - underscoring the fact that people can overcome their (seeming) outward limitations to succeed in ways not expected by those who see them.

Maybe I should bring it even closer home. If YOU were asked to pick from a group of ten(10) people, one person who looks like an International athletics champion, would you pick a skinny, frail looking guy with (seemingly) sunken eyes (which incidentally is the typical appearance of many world champion class long distance runners), or would you choose the fierce/aggressive looking guy with rippling muscles(a description befitting most short distance/sprint athletes)? At the risk of sounding presumptuous, I want to say that I am reasonably certain that MANY people would pick someone fitting the latter description!

And yet, in real life, few sports persons in the sprints can boast of having the phenomenal endurance and stamina possessed and displayed during races by long distance runners. To those of us who are uninitiated, they however seldom look the part at first glance. It is only when they demonstrate their innate abilities on the tracks or field that we recognise their genius and THEN begin to believe!

Genius does not show itself on a person's face so that others can see it and then respect or recognise him/her for it. That's why we must NEVER write people off without FIRST (and as often as possible afterward) giving them a FAIR and IMPARTIAL opportunity to SHOW what they can do" - Tayo K. Solagbade

But the problem with this attitude many of us have of wanting to SEE first, without giving the person a chance to SHOW what s/he can do is that since we are often initially unwilling to give them a chance because their "looks" or appearances suggest they CANNOT, the chances of such geniuses getting past a "screening" stage talk less of being allowed to contest for places in the real competition will be VERY slim.

Just as it is with sports, so it is in life. We need to learn to stop using people's outward appearances to JUDGE what they can or cannot do. It would be so much better - for us, those we assess, and the rest of society - if we focus on "teasing" out people's FULL potentials so we can draw accurate assessments of the value they can add to us at any point in time.

Treat people as what they were what they ought to be, and you help them become what they're capable of being" - Johann Von Goethe

Self-Development/Performance Enhancement Specialist - Tayo Solagbade - works as a Multipreneur, helping individuals/businesses develop and implement tools/strategies to achieve their goals, faster and more profitably.

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