I recall vividly an event in my Junior Secondary School days. J.S.S 3 to be precise. We were writing a mathematics test and the question was on the simultaneous equation.

I started using the elimination method to solve it. But along the line, I got stuck and decided to employ the substitution method. I cancelled the work I had done hitherto to start off afresh.

Unfortunately, before I could go any further with the substitution method, time was up and we had to submit.

The test script was released the next day…surely, a giant zero starred me in the face. With regrets and sadness, I took the script back to the teacher to explain what happened. He told me, “Nick, I understood what you did or trying to do. You were actually on the right path, with the elimination method, but since you cancelled it, I had nothing to grade. No steps, no final result. Next time, make sure you finish the second method before ruling out the first one”.

That was a valuable lesson for me. Since then, I have applied this same principle in both academic and life examinations. When you have a method that works in your organisation, business and life, never be in a hurry to Jump on a ‘seemingly’ better alternative until you have proven that it’s more efficient and delivers a better result than what you’ve got.

To put it in another way, run the two processes together, make sure you are certain that the second alternative is better before discarding the first. Don’t be afraid of change, but be sure that that change is actually worth it.

Have you had a similar scenario played out in your life? If yes, share with us.


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