“Is that your FINAL answer?”

final answer 1“Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” is a TV Game Show that has found its way into our global pop culture. In more than 80 countries, it runs on hundreds of TV stations, weekly. In fact, it was made even more popular by the hugely successful low-budget movie “Slumdog Millionaire”, starring Dev Patel. This article is not really about the show, or the movie, but please stay with me here.

In case you just came to this planet, let me explain how the game show runs. The prize money differs in the countries where it presently runs, but the mode is about the same. There is some prize money to be won by contestants, who will be asked several general questions, fifteen in number. You win some money for every question you answer correctly. The prize money grows with each successful question you answer. In Nigeria, your prize increases from about N20,000, all the way to N10million.

The interesting thing is each “contestant” is made to seat in front of the game show host, who will be doing all the asking, and the questions come with four multiple choice answers. When you pick your answer from the four, before it is finally taken in as your irrevocable response, the Host MUST ASK you “Is that your final answer?”. It is at that seemingly innocuous moment, that people just lose their cool, and start to second-guess what they already knew.

It can get really pathetic when you pick the wrong answer, get the chance to change your mind, and you stubbornly stick to the wrong one. I have seen people lose millions of Naira and go home with next to nothing, simply because they “almost” picked the right one.

In life’s decisions, don’t we all wish we could see the “cheat sheet”, and pick the right answer every time? Don’t we just wish we could see the looks on the faces of the audience at home, the looks on the faces of people that have a search engine at their fingertips to “google” the right answer?

And sometimes, it is the seemingly simple questions that trump the contestants, which we actually are, in real life. Some things actually appear to make sense. Common sense, in fact. And common sense can sooo be the wrong sense! For example, the contestants on the show have three “life-lines”, “Ask the audience”; “50:50” and “Phone a Friend”. You can ask the audience, and sometimes you get about 90% of the audience telling you that the capital of Cote d’Ivoire is Abidjan. That is common sense. But it will just lead you to zero, since that audience has obviously not heard about the change of the capital from Abidjan to Yamoussoukro.

The second lifeline, 50:50 is when the “computer” reduces the options to just two, so your chances are actually increased. But it is not fool-proof. Let me ask you a 50:50 question. It is quite simple, really. And it is quite eye-opening. You have just 10 seconds to make up your mind. Here goes:

You are being offered two jobs. The same job description, and the same work environment. For duration, both will last only 30 days. The first one will pay N1million everyday for those 30days. The second one pays you just N1 the first day, which gets multiplied by two and increases to N2 the next day, N4 the third day, N8 on the fourth, and so on till the 30th day. You should choose one.

Well, I won’t hold it against you if you choose the former. In fact, (virtually) everybody sees no sense in choosing the one that starts at N1/day and we all dive in for the N1million/day job. It is the way of man to not see what is not obvious. We get the 50:50 offer, and we choose the one we think pays us. Sometimes, we even think we are smart with our “stupid” option. Because if you really want to make that money, choosing the N1million per day job is the stupid one, when there is an option to progressively go 1, 2, 4, 8, 16…. for 30 days.

You don’t believe me? Let’s say you pick the million-a-day job; after the first 10 days, you have N10million in your account. The second would have paid you just N1,023 (One thousand, and twenty three naira only). After 20 days, the first has paid in a cool N20million, and the second? Just a mere N1,048,575 (less than N1.1million). If you’ll not give up, and get to the 25th day with me, you see that the first would have given N25million, as expected, and the second one, a whopping N33million, and that’s when its starts to get really scary. Remember, it gets doubled the next day, and the pay for Day 26 alone is N1million for the million-a-day job, and N33.5m for the second (yes, the one that started with just N1). To cut this long story short, at the end of 30days, the first job has paid you a beautiful N30million, and the second one that started with N1? Well, it totals at N1,073,741,823. Yea! One Billion, Seventy Three million, and then some change!

final answer 3.png

So we sometimes make choices that “make sense”, even when we do not ask the audience. It could be somewhat “obvious” to Linda that Henry is the right one to marry. Why not? He presently earns N1million per month; he drives two luxury cars and he’s handsome; but nobody told Linda that in exactly six years, Henry would become a terrible wife-beater, and chronic womanizer.

Then there is Peter, who does not have the N1million salary right now, but somewhere in his future is tremendous fortune, and life-long honor.  Linda senses that she “feels” more at peace with Peter, but Henry buys her gold.

Some weeks before she says “I do” to Henry, there is that small, persistent voice inside her that asks, “Is that really your final answer?” “Don’t  you want to give this some thought again? Perhaps you want to give Peter that chance !”

Back to our contestant on “Who wants to be a Millionaire”, the smart person is someone that realizes that even when the right answer is “obvious”, it may actually not be the right answer. Jeremiah came to that conclusion when he said “O Lord, I know it is not within the power of man to map his life and plan his course” (Jer. 10:23 The Living Bible).

Before facing the game on TV, or the game of life, one must find the smartest and most-informed person one knows, and let him/her sit by the phone, waiting and ready for that final life-line “Phone a Friend”. There is no telling how much better the results would be if we had the best guy at the other end of the line saying “This is the way, Walk in it!”

Or as The New Living Translation puts Psalms 32:8 “The Lord says, ‘I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you, and watch over you’“.

In other words, “I will be that friend at the other end of the line”, and when life asks you “Is that your final answer?” you can calmly say “I will not choose what appears to be the best option, going by my own wisdom. I will not go for the popular opinion, as they can be wrong altogether. I will daily ask God to guide my steps, and lead me in the path that I should go.”

And when the best path is not obvious, you still choose rightly, and you still win!

If you know your heart is still connected to Him, listen for -and to- that still, small voice. Read His words daily. And never be afraid to be unpopular.

“I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year, ‘Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.’ And he replied, ‘Go into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way!”                                           ― Minnie Louise Haskins

Well, that’s my final answer !                              


Chukwudi Adepoju                                                                                                                                                      20th June 2013.

You can follow me on twitter: @adechuks

7 thoughts on ““Is that your FINAL answer?”

  1. Chukwudi, this is so brilliant! The twist and turns from mundane to life’s choice made riding in the wind and wings of He that knows and determines the outcome. Brilliant, I said.

  2. God bless you sir for this edification. May we all receive Grace to find the ‘pathway of life’ for us each time as we journey through the issues of this age.

  3. That is my final answer is the same as yours. The other thing I need is to trust and obey, the willingness to go wherever He leads me. God bless u aburo.

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