Statistics play a significant role in information dissemination. We live in a knowledge era and the sheer amount of available information is, to say the least, mind-boggling Statistical information therefore helps in reducing the amount of information to a manageable proportion, without compromising the value inherent in the information being disseminated.
Not only is the value in information disseminated through well chosen statistical information not compromised, it’s actually enhanced. The above underscores the relevance of statistics to modern day life.
Some vital statistics
With a few economic indices (a form of statistical information) like Gross Domestic Product (GDP), per capita income, population growth rate, life expectancy, infant mortality rate, and maternal mortality rate, you can tell whether a country being evaluated is underdeveloped, developing or developed. Add some more economic statistics and you can write a size-able report about the state of a nation.
In the same vein, health statistics of a medical patient convey huge information about the health of that person. I am always amazed that a person’s health status can be depicted in few numbers. If your cholesterol level is 300, trained medical personnel can comment on your lifestyle with a high degree of accuracy. In such situation, a doctor would very likely get you hospitalized and administer drugs until the cholesterol level goes down. One other health information that tells a lot about a person’s health is his blood pressure. There’s a level it gets to and the medical personnel would request for additional tests to determine the state of some of your vital organs like your kidneys and liver.
Vital Statistics in Football Game
During the recently concluded 29th African Nations Football Competition hosted by South Africa early in 2013 which Nigeria won, I found myself reflecting on what could best reflect the relevance of a person’s life on earth. In other words, if a person is evaluating his life, what statistical data can he consider that would tell him whether he is living a significant life or not?
My thought had its origin in the vital statistics usually displayed on the television screen whenever a player was being substituted. These statistics are:
the keenly competed football competition at the end of the three weeks. During the matches, whenever a player was being substituted some vital statistics on the player were displayed on the television screen. From the statistics displayed, you could tell if the player made any meaningful contribution while he was on the pitch or not. These statistics are:
a) Distance covered (measured in kilometers)
b) Accurate passes made (expressed in figure or percentage)
c) Goals scored
I thought, “If a football player’s relevance over a 90-minute football game can be determined by evaluating three statistical data, it should be possible apply the same principle in evaluating a man’s relevance over the period he has spent on earth.” After all, it’s said that life is a stage and every man has a definite period to perform on life’s stage. Thereafter, he leaves the stage for others to perform. This analogy strengthened my resolve that the comparison of a football player’s performance during a match and a man’s performance in life is reasonable. Before making the comparison, let’s expatiate on the vital statistics in football.
In a football game, distance covered is very important because football is an active game; you’ve just have to move around. When two players are being substituted at about the same time and one has covered a distance of 5 kilometres and the other covered 7.5 kilometres, you need no soothsayer to tell you who’s more active.
However, since the essence of being on the football pitch is not just to move around, the second vital statistics comes in handy in ensuring that a player’s activity is with a purpose. The purposefulness of an active player is determined by the number of accurate passes he made. Passes are important because they are a prelude to scoring goals.
In the final analysis, the game of football is about scoring goals – that is what determines the winner. As a consequence, one of the vital statistics of a football player is the number of goals scored. The more goals a player is able to score, the more useful he is to his team.
It’s noteworthy to mention that vital statistics are evaluated together not in isolation. The implication of this is that a player may not be scoring for his team but be considered relevant to his team so much so that the coach cannot do without him. In such situations, you find that such player scores high in the other vital statistics: distance covered and accurate passes. For instance, John Mikel Obi was voted as the Most Valuable Player of the Nigerian team that won the cup even though he didn’t score any goals throughout the competition! In fact, he floundered his opportunity to score by losing a penalty!
John Mikel Obi was so crucial to the team that it stands to reason that if he had not been in the competition, winning the competition would have been doubtful because he contributed directly to most of the goals scored. As a matter of fact, he made most of the passes to the goal scorers.
Vital Statistics of Life
Armed with the above statistical information on football, let’s now look at its application to the relevance of human life. The vital statistics to be considered (drawn parallel to those applicable to football players) are:
a) Number and diversity of life experiences (synonymous with distance covered)
b) People assisted (synonymous with accurate passes)
c) Personal successes (synonymous with goals scored)
- Life and living is about deliberately gathering valuable experiences. To enrich our lives, we should seek to have many and varied life experiences. The saying, ‘variety is the spice of life’, actually means, ‘a variety of experiences is the spice of life.’ Jim Rohn was spot on when he described life as ‘not just the passage of time but the collection of experiences, their intensity and frequency.’
- In gathering experiences, our focus should be on valuable (positive) experiences that will serve us and others. Valuable experiences can therefore be construed as capital in that they can be invested into our own life and the life of others to yield greater dividends in future.
The quality and relevance of a man’s life is determined by the people he serves with his valuable experiences (both his own and other peoples’). It’s for this reason that I try as much as possible to document my life experiences believing they would serve me and others in my circle of influence.
In case you’re wondering how assisting others with your experiences would enable you meet your personal goals and aspirations, consider this, “You can have everything you want in life if you would help others get what they want!” This is one of the popular sayings the famed motivational speaker, Zig Ziglar, was noted for.
I believe there’s an Umpire watching over the affairs of men with the primary aim of rewarding every man (in this life and the life to come) according to his works (his assistance of others).
- It’s superfluous to include the third vital statistic – personal successes; because we’ve established that it becomes automatic that we would succeed in our own life when we focus on gathering valuable experiences and assisting others with the experiences so gathered.
Now that you know the vital statistics that depict the relevance of your life, I enjoin you to go to work on what really matters. Go gather valuable experiences (many and varied), invest them in the lives of others through effective communication and watch your life progress.