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Second Fiddle

When I was in primary school, I read about 2 men who went to a concert. There were all kinds of musical instruments that fascinated them and they began identifying and discussing them. The more knowledgeable man pointed out the second fiddle and explained that this instrument plays more of an assistant role, and it is subordinate to the lead or first fiddle. By the way, the fiddle is often also known as the violin.
The friend listened attentively, remained silent, and finally responded, “If I played the second fiddle, I’d never rest; I’d train and practice until I could play the first fiddle.”
The moral of the story then was for us to ensure that we do everything to be the best at whatever we do. And that is fine and fair. However, what could be wrong with playing the second fiddle?
1. the 2nd fiddle could just be to fill gaps and keep an extra instrumentalist busy;
2. the 2nd fiddle could be a seasoned accompaniment that makes the work of the lead fiddle easier;
3. the 2nd fiddle could be a backup lead fiddle, working along until an emergency makes him needed.
In the course of time, I have found that the 2nd fiddle is not necessarily technically subordinate to the lead fiddle. He is only subordinate in musical arrangement! In fact, it is possible for both instrumentalists to swap roles in the course of the same musical piece, or to swap instruments in the course of the same concert!
What then really makes the 2nd fiddle subordinate to the 1st fiddle? The mind!
Many times in life, we hold on to leadership thinking that sharing power means losing power. This makes us struggle at tasks that our team members are better at handling. I admire my friend who often sits at the back with the child while his wife drives. He drives sometimes, but she loves to drive and she is better with direction. Somehow, his position as husband has not been taken from him yet.
The next time you have to assist, don’t see it as subjugation, it is an opportunity to build together!!

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  1. Many thanks. We are meant to compliment, collaborate and complete one another not to compete with ourselves.

  2. Over the years I have learnt that real leaders are not always at the front row. They are just a step behind ensuring the ones occupying the front seat remain focused and glued to the goal. They help keep the right pace.

  3. The problem generally is with the first fiddler – team leader – who believes (the mind as u rightly said) who thinks he is the best in the team and so wants to lord it over the second fiddler. Rightly or wrongly, he often feels threatened, especially by the presence and superior performance of highly capable second fiddler.
    So I think the issue is more with the main violinist. He should first appreciate the competence of his second fiddles and work peacefully to achieve the desired goals.
    Second fiddles should also have enough confidence in themselves, they too will some day come into number one positions.

  4. Adewoye Olushola Feyitimi

    True talk making the simple wise. God’s light will not fade away from your life. Thanks.

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