The 98/2 principle

Well, I don’t think there is actually such a principle recognised at present, except for some random guy’s theory on affiliates. The underlying principle I‘m trying to get to is an actual reality though. The idea I want to share in this article is the actual pivot which eventually lead me to create this blog and also get involved in the things I do nowadays. A few years back I was watching a program on television in which the presenter mentioned that a mere 2% of people at any given time determines culture, while the other 98% just follow. This concept was reinforced by Dr. Os Guinness at a lecture of his I attended a few days ago when he mentioned that today, as always; it is the leaders who shape culture and not the general public. leaders of different eras have changed faces and roles over time. At times kings or dictators have been in charge and even so they would normally be assisted by advisors or various forms of think tanks. Even then, the influences of these people were potentially limited as writers, poets, artists and musicians captured the emotions of the people and shaped the mind of society. Today is not much different; in fact, most political leaders do not have that much influence on national culture at all anymore I’d reckon. The people shaping culture today are business leaders, musicians and actors, film makers, fashion designers, sportsman, and various other personalities and communicators. The mark of these people is that they change the face of the very industry they function in. It is obvious in industries which move through seasons such as the fashion or entertainment industry – people can easily grow tired of a certain style and the leaders are those who read their market and adapt in the most sufficient way. In the world of sport we see these people literally taking their trade to a next level. Think of names such as Tiger Woods, Lance Armstrong, Roger Federer or Yelena Isinbayeva. These are all people who revolutionised their respective routines and also the way their competitors approach it, everyone from children to other professionals aspire to be like them or at least consider their methods in their own approach. This is not only true in sport but in any other industry and sphere of life as well, a handful of people set the trend while others simply follow.

This is a reality which we cannot escape, we can’t help but follow. We are sheep looking for a leader. No one is on a solo mission, since our birth ideas have already started to shape us or were lying in wait for us to start perceiving at least. The truth is that the 2% are also followers. They may shape the current or coming trend but they base their ideas and philosophies on ones who went before them or on that of their peers.

This concept could be looked at from many different angles and it could even be said that the same person is a 98 per center concerning the sphere of sport while simultaneously being a 2 per center in the world of culinary art for instance. It is maybe not even such a big deal who you follow concerning practices which require skill such as sport or cooking. However, when ideals and beliefs gets added to the mix it has potential eternal consequences even. I consider it of utmost importance to consider who you are following when it concerns your lifestyle and moral and ethical issues. I often ask myself why a certain person – their style, beliefs, impact on others and broader society – is so attractive to me. Why do I aspire after that person or the lifestyle they represent? More important even, where are they heading and what are they getting out of doing what they do? If I can’t, to a certain extent, help but follow after people, who should I follow after and against what should I measure them? One good way is probably to just take a look at the group of 2 per centers they followed after and see where they ended up.

Next, no matter how small our influence, each one of us forms part of someone’s 2%. Yes, someone somewhere actually follows you; they actually choose to follow you! Weird hey? What are you going to do about that? And this article possibly has way too many question marks by now but we must ask many questions, always. ¿Imagine how many question marks there would have been had I written it in Spanish? The point is however that just as you follow, you are being followed and are leading others on their eternal way. My best advice would thus be to choose wisely who’s opinion and ways you follow, and the generation and individuals following after you will automatically follow something worthwhile.

I mentioned earlier that this concept lead me to create this blog and plays a big part in most things I get myself into nowadays. It is not so much about being a 2 per center myself but rather about asking people again and again: which 2 per cent are you following and which 2 per cent were they following?!





About Servaas Hofmeyr

For life through Truth.
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