Some people think of the Mathew Effect as “The rich get richer and the poor get poorer” and believe it’s inevitable. I guess if you are in the rich category that is a good thing but the reality is for the rest of us, once we realize some of the causes for this effect there is a way to overcome it.
As an example, someone who has experienced great success at a young age will receive a lot of encouragement and resources to keep succeeding while those who didn’t experience success at a younger age will get discouraged and want to quit. Thus, the Mathew Effect becomes somewhat of a self fulfilling prophecy.
Looking at youth sports, as an example, we see that the best 9 and 10 year olds tend to get put on the best teams, get the best training and see early success. Those who aren’t good at sports at these ages tend to quit and look for something else to do. The thing we have to realize is with the same training and opportunities, the struggling 10 year old athlete could become the star 16 year old while the start at 12 might have simply hit puberty a bit earlier and the others catch up and surpass them.
So how do we as a group help people overcome the Mathew Effect? The first is to look at peoples true potential and not assume that because they are at one level now that they will be at that same level in a few years. Some people continue to improve while others stagnate and even regress. The second thing is to encourage everyone to try things. One of the main reasons people don’t succeed is a lack of confidence. Help someone believe in themselves and they will be able to do wonderful things.
The Mathew Effect is a real thing because people believe it is so. Can it be overcome? YES
Have a great day!