Divorcing Mediocrity for Excellence

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By Goke Ilesanmi


Your commitment to excellence will inevitably determine the quality of your life, irrespective of your chosen career. Therefore, accommodate excellence in your life and expel mediocrity, which is all about living below your true potential. Take mediocrity lid off your ability to excel by developing qualities that an average person lacks.


A lot of people think they are operating at the highest level of their capacity when they are actually not. Okay, why is it that when reward is attached to something people exceed their normal performance? Just tell your child that is already coming first in his or her class that if he or she can do better next term, you will buy something substantial for him or her, and see what will happen. Tell your employees that anybody that doubles his or her performance will be given a car and display the car in the company. In short, you will not believe the tremendous results you will get.


Inspiring life stories

There was a boy that was the “chief dullard” in his class in the fifth grade in the United States of America. Though he just came to the school from another one and was in his first term, his lack of intelligence quickly made him so popular that he became the object of ridicule around. One day, he came home with a woeful report card. His mother looked at the card and encouragingly said, “You’re smart…You can do anything you want to do”. But the boy did not believe his mother. Then the mother later said, “Education is the only way you’re ever going to…get ahead in life and be successful.”


In spite of his mother’s persistent encouragement, he continued with his celebration of mediocrity by playing with friends every day after coming back from school and watching television late into the night without reading. Determined to cure him of this mediocrity, the mother came back from work one day and met him and his brother watching television. She switched off the television and gave them instructions that they must from that day be reading after coming back from school. She also said he and his elder brother must be reading two books every week. The mother said she had been praying to God for direction and that was the answer she got.



By the second half of the fifth grade, this boy had acquired so much knowledge from reading books that he answered a question that the most intelligent pupil in his class could not answer. By the time he got to the middle of the sixth grade, he had established himself as the most intelligent pupil in his class. By the time he got to the ninth grade, one of the most brilliant boys in his class got 91% in advanced algebra after the teacher had added two extra-credit questions to give bonus marks. The former chief dullard scored 110%! At the age of 33, he became head of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital, United States of America. He is one of the youngest people ever to occupy that position at the global hospital. The academic nonentity of the first half of the fifth grade in those days is today an intellectual celebrity because of his mother’s efforts. He is today known as Dr. Ben Carson, author of “Think Big” and “Gifted Hands”.


Just like Carson, there was a boy that had initially devoted the larger part of his time to playing football and table tennis but still performing academically. After so much counselling by his parents on the need to devote more time to reading than sports, he changed his habit and became so addicted to reading that the same parents started appealing him to reduce his reading because he would read from 7a.m. to 7p.m., have break from 7p.m. to 9p.m. and resume reading from 9p.m. to 12 midnight every day, especially when he was preparing for university matriculation examination after his school certificate examination. That was 15 hours per day. I learnt the boy still reads voraciously. His parents that God used for him are Elder Adeyinka Ilesanmi and Midwife Rachel Ilesanmi. The little boy of that time is Adegoke Ilesanmi, this columnist. I thank God and my parents just as Carson does.


Geography of mediocrity

Mediocrity is a region bounded on the south by procrastination; on the north by weak-mindedness; on the west by absence of vision and on the east by negative past thought. When you climb the tallest tree, you will definitely pluck the best fruit.


John Mason, a great motivational speaker says, “If you want to see if you can really swim, don’t frustrate yourself with shallow water…Most people could do more than they think they can…. You never know what you cannot do until you try.” According to Rick Pitino, author of “Success Is a Choice”, “Most successful people are dreamers, ordinary people who are not afraid to think big and dare to be great. Dreamers are not content with being merely mediocre….”


Myles Munroe, a renowned motivational speaker says, “As a matter of fact, the concept of retirement is a great myth that traps the untapped potential buried in millions of talented, gifted and valuable individuals. This Western concept has caused many great men and women to settle for the average and to succumb to the mediocrity of the socially accepted standards of success….”


Belief and reading

Based on the life story of Carson already examined, it can be said that to catapult yourself to excellence, you must have strong belief and have thirst for continuous knowledge. Belief is an attitude, the way you think about something. You form attitudes through knowledge and experiences. You can change your attitude if you motivate yourself to do so. To continuously acquire knowledge, you must embrace continuous reading. Always seek in-depth learning or knowledge. If you are a student, for instance, learn for the sake of knowledge and understanding not for the purpose of just passing examinations.


Excellence and perfectionism

In the course of trying to bring out the best in their children, parents should try to first give hope to such children irrespective of their performance, just as the mother of Carson gave him hope to boost his self-image and -esteem despite his poor performance. If parents condemn their children all the time, such children will forever be targeting perfection instead of excellence. Perfectionism is about trying to satisfy extremely unrealistic but deeply internalised standards of excellence. It is a psychological problem.


Parting shots

Divorce mediocrity today and marry excellence. The expression, “The sky is the limit” is now outdated in the dictionary of excellence. The new entry is, “The sky is the beginning”. Therefore, go beyond the sky today and reach for the stars so that you can shine. If you think the sky is your limit, then you lack the expected goal. God wants you to be the best by embracing excellence. After achieving your best, you still need to rely on Him because your best is not enough without God being involved. Till we meet on Wednesday. Go for excellence.


GOKE ILESANMI, Editor-in-Chief/CEO of www.gokeilesanmi.com.ng and Managing Consultant/CEO of Gokmar Communication Consulting, is a Certified Public Speaker/Emcee, (Business) Communication Specialist, Motivational Speaker, Career Management Coach, Renowned Book Reviewer, Corporate Leadership Expert and Editorial Consultant.


Tel: +234(0)8056030424; +234(0)8187499425

Email: gokeiles2010@gmail.com; info@gokeilesanmi.com.ng


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