Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Last Mile

"There's many a slip 'twixt the cup and the lip."
- English proverb

Today's post was inspired by some articles I recently read concerning the cost of Internet access in Kenya, which has not seen significant price drops years after the landing of several sub-marine fiber optic cables. Prior to this, there were numerous promises of faster, more accessible and cheaper Internet. The promises have simply remained promises, reason being that the last mile costs to the service providers have so far remained unchanged.

Before you feel like I am digressing and talking about something that would more appropriately feature in Connect eMagazine's Telco Talk, let me get straight to the point.

The Irony of Life

IronicEvery time we embark on anything in life, how it starts naturally determines how it may end up, assuming all factors remain constant. When it is a good beginning, then it all proceeds and ends well.
For a lengthy and engaging endeavor, nothing beats the good feeling of that light at the end of the tunnel, an indication that satisfaction and achievement are nigh. However, as we have previously highlighted, life has a way of throwing some nasty surprises at us. Alanis Morissette finds this trait rather ironic.

Consistency, no assumptions
At this point, the question that begs asking is: Must things suddenly change at the last minute? For those who believe in destiny, Is this the nature of fate? And more important, What can be done to forestall this?

The answer lies in two fairly common words: assumption and consistency. Just because things have been going on all well sans any hitch is in no way an assurance that such welcome progress will be maintained till conclusion.
Human beings are creatures of habit, naturally opting to believe in and depend on the repetition of what has happened in the past. In our minds, we simply assume that it is tried and tested, that nothing can possibly go wrong. This is primarily the reason why disclaimers exist. Assumption is undoubtedly the mother of all screw-ups.
We should therefore not assume things.

In lieu of assumptions, we then need to go the extra mile [yeah, that one exists before you get to the end], and remain consistent. No need getting sloppy just because you have done 95%. Do not drop your guard just because you are now in your drive way. The contract does not become binding unless and until the signatures have been appended on the dotted lines.

So much can happen in a very short time period. A day is indeed a very long time, not just in the life of a politician, but in every single thing in life.
There is need to learn from these simple truths. Otherwise, we may learn the hard way [as one Argonaut did] that there actually are many slips between the cup and the lip.


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