Measure Yourself with the Best

“Like beget like” Anon


I had one of the top results within the school when I graduated from my primary school, I thought I was good, until the results of the first class test in my new secondary school were released. I was shocked, my performance was only average. Where did it all go wrong? Apparently it was the best pupils from various primary schools that made up my new class. Thereafter, my confidence to perform in the class was understandably low; it didn’t help either when I discovered that my scores from the Common Entrance Examination was not even in the top 20 percentile of my new class.

In that class, there was a guy that sat at the desk beside me, I heard him “attempt” to speak English – it was terrible! I assured myself that there was at least one person I would do better than, I wouldn’t be bottom of the class, or so I thought! How wrong I was. Though he performed poorly in English language, at the end of the first term Femi (not real name) was in third place in the class standing. I, on the other hand, was lost somewhere in the middle positions in my 40 member class.

Take a look at my thought pattern, learn from my mistake. Why measure yourself against the supposed worst why not the best?! Do not search out the worst student to measure yourself up against in a new class, look for the best. Find the ‘best guy’ in the class and beat him to the top spot. When you make such positive assessments you can only improve, if you take the other option you will constantly perform below your potential.

The best is where you ought to be.

A wise person once said there is a lot of space at the top; it’s only the bottom that is crowded. Aim for the top, your space is waiting to be filled.

During my undergraduate days, in the second year, I remember fellow classmates agreeing that we needed to set up tutorial classes, the obvious high performers in the class were selected as tutorial leaders to lead the tutorial classes in the various courses that made up the programme. There was one slot unassigned, one course that needed a tutor, with a little encouragement from my friends I offered myself up to lead that tutorial class, and everyone was ok with it, but I sensed that there was some reservations.

Being a tutor was a good experience but led to some of the most demanding days of my university experience as I realised in a short while that I had to be ‘up to scratch’ with my knowledge of the course I led; people started asking me questions on the course at just about any time of the day, this meant I had to always be prepared if I did not want to be embarrassed or disappoint any of my friends.

I began sitting in on the other tutorial classes, though some of them were as good as hearing the lecture a second time over (which is a very profitable task in itself), there was also the added advantage that I could stop that ‘lecturer’ at anytime and ask all my stupid questions.

As I write today, I have a copy of my undergraduate transcript and as I look at the grade were B’s I obtained in that year. This might not sound very impressive to you until you realise that my first year was a near academic disaster and all the (over) confidence I had imported into university (based on my Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (SSCE) results of 6 distinctions and 3 credits) was at an all time low!

By following the example of the ‘best guys’, I got results the ‘best guys’ got! What my classmates and I did not realise at the time was that by giving the top guys those responsibilities we made them even better, and if we had dared take up the same responsibilities, tackle the same problems, deliver at the same level, we would have ultimately achieved the same outcome and get the same results!

I learnt this principle, I proved it, and my second year was one of the best of my undergraduate years!

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