Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Talent, Intention, Seeding or Performance?

What makes a person who they are? Are we the people we intend to be, the sum of our beliefs and ethical standards? Or are our actions more important? It is a bit of a no-brainer of course, since most people will say that our true ethics will determine what we do when there is no one there to see. However, what society says and does (much like a person) can be two different things. We value people based more on our opinion of them—the consensus belief about them.

A perfect example is the current buzz about the college basketball tournament. At the beginning of the tournament, teams were ranked based on prior performance and “expert” opinion. This ranking was used to place teams in the tournament. For the first time since this seeding has been done, no number one or number 2 teams made it into the final four. This has some people upset. They feel as though they are being cheated out of the best entertainment.

So what makes a team (or a person) who they are? Is it a ranking based on past performance and talent? Somehow, the eight “best” teams in the country have been shown to not be the best when it counted. College football has made a science out of not basing a team’s worth or quality ranking on competition but rather “expert” judgment. It seems a large portion of our society wants to judge a person not on performance but on intangibles like talent, intention and hypothetical encounters.

In the real world, it is the choices we make and the actions we take that determine who we are. Who are you when it counts?


  1. I think the "expert" thing has several roots (or maybe they are all one): it helps us feel like we're in control; pride - everyone's gotta be an expert in something these days; and everyone knows, either subconsciously or otherwise, that being judged on our actions paints a very different picture of who we really are - usually one we don't want people to see.

  2. Too true, Phil. I catch myself rooting against the favorites these days, mostly just so the "experts" will be proven wrong. It's the contrary in my coming out I guess.


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