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If you had (or have) chemistry in your 11th grade, you would have probably learnt somewhere that “the slowest step of the reaction is the rate determining step”.  What that means in simple words is that the slowest part of the process decides how fast (or slowly) the process will finish. There are even a couple more variations of this, like “A herd of buffalo can only move as fast as the slowest buffalo” or “a chain is as strong as its weakest link”.

I knew what it meant but this month, I truly understood it.

For our CBSE English project, we had to work in groups of 4 – 5  on a given topic.

Even when we had formed our group, we had to add in another member because one of the students from the class was left over as per the group distribution. As for our group members, well… Some of them wouldn’t be my first choice because of their work ethics.

Having no other choice but to work with the group formed, we moved forward. 

The tasks were allotted and work was started (or so I assumed).

The truth was that most of the members (by most, I mean 2 people) just saw the texts and that was about it. No response, no question, nothing. There wasn’t even any feedback on what I sent on the group as my work.

Basically, progress was slow. And frustrating, for those who were actually working.

The project’s due date came closer and closer and were done with just half of the project (mind you, with an added advantage of an extra member). In fact, the deadline was 25th January and we still haven’t submitted the project 🙂 Still waiting for merely two website links for the bibliography. How fun!

The point I’m trying to highlight here is simple: You’re as good as your weakest link. Even though 3 of us worked fairly hard (hard enough to submit the project before time), we weren’t able to complete it – just because the rest of the members did not match the pace of the group and slowed us down too. We were (I guess we still are as of today) a group which means we were dependent on each other for our progress.

And I don’t mean this just in a group setting, I mean it in an individual scene too.

Instead of having these 5 group members, I have 5 subjects in my grade. Even if three of my subjects are thriving, but I suck at two of them, I’d be doing just marginally above average. So to increase my percentage, it’d be a better idea to pull up on those two subjects, rather than working super hard at the other three subjects which I am already doing great at (I’d need to focus on those three too, but not as much as the bottom two).

It’s important to know that the slowest step of a process is usually what will determine how long it takes for that process to be completed. The faster you make that particular step, the faster (or better) the entire process becomes. You need to work on your weaknesses to the point they’re not hindering your growth or pulling down your strengths.

Strengthen your weakest link, and your overall strength will dramatically increase.


Recap for memory:

  1. You are as strong as your weakest aspect
  2. Working with the super slow member can cause frustration, and even restrict your progress
  3. Strengthen your weakest link, and your overall strength will dramatically increase

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