Lessons about the power of downplay


Last week Thursday was definitely one for the books. I was officially conferred the degree of Bachelor of Arts (Economics and Statistics) at the 38th graduation ceremony of the University of Botswana. How surreal!

In hindsight, I realized just how powerful downplaying yourself is at both opposite ends of the spectrum. Whether you do it or not it does catch up with you in the long run.

For context, in my second year of my bachelor degree studies I took a conscious decision to take statistics as my second major. In the process doing away with Public Administration which I had done for a full academic year. At the time, of course I did so based on my performance on statistics courses that I had previously enrolled for. To cut the story short one of my professors at the time agreed to this shift, the department course advisor put a stamp on it and thus a new era began.

Fast forward to beginning of the new academic year I started off with new course mates. We were past that phase of learning the basics with everybody all the way from business faculty. And trust me when I tell you that I would get intimidated by the new atmosphere. Everybody seemed to be aware of what was going on. Seemed to know of the technical terms, the ins and out of this particular book called “Statistics Tables…for mathematicians, engineers, economists,…”.

Mind you unlike most of my course mates, I had no prior exposure of statistics from high school. I had just discovered a new passion in working with numbers. I would even get convinced that I might not be getting some of these advanced concepts. At one point my course mates would book a seminar room at the library to go over practice questions and concepts. And in hindsight, as much as I learnt one or two things from time to time, I realized that these sessions weren’t as fruitful as we thought they were. We all probably didn’t do prior practice on the assumption that our mates will teach us one or two things that would set us up for the exams. Little did we know!

Those close to me would tell you that at one point I started to seclude myself. I had to do it for myself. Sometimes that’s what it takes to see the day like this past Thursday, the sacrifices. I had to stop downplaying myself to make others comfortable. It was time to go back to the drawing board and figure out a way out. As I introspected I realized just how my perception of the atmosphere had taken over so much that I downplayed myself.

Before I get carried away I just wanted to remind you that “never downplay your intelligence. Dumb is not cute. Integrity, dignity and wisdom are the true indicators of beauty”. Give yourself some time to discover your weaknesses, work on them with thorough effort and self belief. Trust yourself that you can do it because you definitely can do it and put in the work. When the universe aligns, it will, on time even.

Till next time.



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