08 December 2005

Is the Fastest always the Greatest?

Stephano Baldini, Mizuki Noguchi, Roman Sebrle. Who the hell are these people? In a world of short attention span, you can’t blame why we don’t remember the winners of Marathon and Decathlon in the recently concluded Olympics. If I had said Justin Gatlin, Marion Jones or Shawn Crawford, we wouldn’t be asking twice who they are. Has the world come to believe the fastest as the greatest? In the world of recognition and respect, has 26 miles lost to 100 m? Or is it just a reflection of how success is defined in our current world?

When you delve deep into how every action is judged nowadays, you realize the fastest is considered as the best. Just see who gets the bonus at the end of the quarter. It’s usually the one who does the job quicker. Doing a job faster is perceived as doing the job efficiently because people don’t have time to analyze and judge whether it was done in an effective manner with long-term credibility. ‘Get the Job done’ has become the motto of most companies, not ‘Get the Job done rightly no matter how long it takes’. Performance is directly proportional to how many jobs did you complete. Quick-fix solution has become order of the day. Instant gratification is more important than long-term liabilities. We have gone from “Lets figure out how to do it effectively” to “Lets do it right Now” to “Lets do it right now before I get fired”. There seems to be an in-built clock that’s telling us to do things faster, quicker. Not necessarily doing it right or efficiently.

Would you choose to have your car fixed immediately with some long-term problems or have it completely repaired but would take 2 weeks? Would you choose to fix the code that would get the client up and running or do analysis of the problem, find out the origin of issue and then solve it which would take a month? Would you choose to work on your marriage, which might take few years or get out right now and find another partner? (With 50% divorce rate in US, you know what half the people here are choosing). ‘Fix now, worry later’ has become a part of our culture because we strongly believe there may not be a ‘Later’ in most cases.

We even want our Kids to grow quickly. I saw my friend praising his wife for teaching his daughter the entire syllabus up to third grade while she is just in her first grade. I asked him what are you gaining by doing that? Why would you want your kid to grow so fast instead of letting her enjoy her moments as a kid? His answer was that she would have an edge over her competition. Is growing up early worth it? While Sharapova, Jody Foster, Olson Twins might make you think so, Martina Hingis, Tatum O’Neil, McCaulay Culkin prove otherwise.

Measuring someone’s success by his or her age has become the cynical way of determining someone’s worth nowadays.
‘Look at that young manager.’
‘See he bought a house at 25.’
‘It’s surprising he is getting paid so much so young.’
‘Sorry you are too old to do this Job’.
It’s not about how far you have come from where you started in life but “How soon did you make it”. There doesn’t seem to be much glory in endurance, perseverance and patience in today’s world. Infact, they take so much time, either you don’t have time for it or it is just plainly boring to follow through them. Right now, it does seem like the Fastest is greatest!

Who cares about the Marathon runners anyway?

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