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What Your Name Teaches You About Opportunity

July 31, 2013, 7:00 AM
Raising-hand

I think one of the keys to success is being quick to respond and that’s been a truism in business for a very, very long time.  Opportunities don’t last forever and if you want to seize the opportunity, it’s better to seize it earlier rather than later.  And there’s an interesting effect that suggest that if your name – if your surname – your last name – happens to be near the end of the alphabet, you spend such a long time in so many contexts waiting for everyone above you to go first, to be called on first.  Maybe in a class or in some other setting where people are using the alphabetical list as the order, the guide to order.  

So when there is a new outcome or a new opportunity because you’ve chronically been waiting so long across time, you’re quicker to seize that opportunity.  And so there’s some evidence that if you release some free tickets to a concert or something like that and you tell a whole group of people about it that the first responses will tend to come from people who are at the second half of the alphabet – those who’ve chronically had to wait a long time to respond.  And so now when this opportunity’s a free for all and in general they chronically respond more quickly because they’ve, in general, been made to wait so long.

In Their Own Words is recorded in Big Think's studio.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

 

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