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Stretch the limit of your commitment: Embrace Excellence in place of Mediocrity

mediocrityIt is my sincere desire that young people will heed the call of excellence in spite of the prevailing mediocrity around them today. Regardless of the culture of underperformance that is being celebrated and dignified today, they must make a personal commitment to stretch the limits of their commitment, the quality of life they live and work they produce.

Excellence is not an attitude that can be turned on and off. Aristotle said “we are what we repeatedly do. Excellence is therefore an habit, not an act.” If we reason along this line, is it not true by the long history of mediocrity in Nigeria that we have an ingrained habit?

lackluster approach to life, politics, work and business has prevailed long enough that excellence though unconsciously desired, is likely to come across as shocking. Because mediocrity flourishes, we are accustomed to making little demands of ourselves and of others and we roll out drums for underachievers.

In Nigeria, Politics is characterized by half-hearted commitment to development and at best, cosmetic projects and policies. At work, competence and quality crumbles under the weight of nepotism, superficiality and cheap office politics.

Our educational system is such that students can get by with superficial knowledge and their lecturers cannot challenge them to excellence because most are themselves gold standards of mediocrity. Businesses treat innovation and excellent Customer Service as burdens because they have been able to reap huge profits over the years while doing just the minimum requirement.

Let us face this truth – WE CAN CHANGE. In the absence of institutional frameworks that foster excellence or leadership that exemplifies it, we must demand excellence of ourselves and carry out a personal crusade against mediocrity.  And this we must do. This is because even though we are potentially equal, life is designed to separate people and nations over time along the divide of excellence or mediocrity.

Our global competitiveness as young people lies in our response to excellence. Our best must regularly prevail in all that we do. You can be good in a Nigerian system that allows for mediocrity but you can never be great in the context of a global economy and social system where meritocracy is the determinant of relevance. The implication of my thought here is that those who scorn excellence will always live to regret it.

Another way to arrest this culture is a lifelong dedication to growth and learning, whether we are out of school or not. Failure in our attempt at the school system should not define our efforts in other critical avenues of learning in life. Young people must be trained in the fundamental field of knowledge acquisition and application. They must embrace the strength of mind and character needed for this undertaking. They must learn to embrace mental exertion. The brain must get into the habit of sweating through rigorous use, for that is how it will grow to heights of productivity and depths of insight.

This is your personal responsibility! Our survival as young people and as a nation is in a paradigm of EXCESS, a bold and countercurrent swim against the tides of mediocrity. We need excellent students, doctors, business men, teachers, lawyers, engineers, consultants and artisans.

Excellence will start when we begin to ask ourselves these questions – Am I performing at the highest level possible? Is this the best I can give?

  To join Olakunle SORIYAN's Mentoring Platform, Please Call, +234-8128118884


 To join Olakunle SORIYAN’s Mentoring Platform, Please Call, +234-8128118884

 

 

 

You think you are too young to be responsible or make a difference? Mandela thinks otherwise!

Take Charge!

Take Charge!

Young people have some lessons to learn about youth and responsibility especially in an age that considers immorality, frivolity and recklessness as hip or trendy. Young people of today are synonymous with light hearted frenzy and a gross incapacity to rise up to the demands and responsibility of their generation. We seek not to promote the exceptions but to recommend a rule for all.

This brings us to the question of how Nelson Mandela engaged his youth. Mandela was just 26 years of age when he became a member of the executive council of the ANC youth league. He and other like-minded young men rose up to confront the critical situation of segregation and marginalization of black people in South Africa. And in doing this, they upheld one of the virtues of youth – a capacity to take responsibility beyond self, to engage society, to look at the problem surrounding you and resist the temptation to think someone else will solve them.

However, the society of today is raising late starters, slow to take responsibility for their own lives let alone for others. Especially in this part of the world, youth are engulfed in the fanfare of sports, fashion, and entertainment and the fame, wealth and glamour that attend them. They are still struggling to get a hold of what life is really about and are barely prepared to play larger roles within society.

I’m afraid young people here are being raised to be victims in light of the nature of challenges confronting them. They are endangered species. What I find appalling is that young people have mastered an incredible but strange art of watching everything go against them and talking against it without doing something constructive about it.

Unlike today’s youth, Mandela would not allow his background or age define the limits of his responsibility or circumstances. He applied for a job as a night watchman while he pursued a degree in law at the University of Withwatersrand. He took study loans to make this possible. Yet, against the backdrop of a system that discouraged the education of young black people, Mandela emerged determined to be educated, not allowing himself be daunted by the apartheid regime nor borrowing the weakness of governance to excuse the creation of a great future. He maintained the belief that the creation of his future was in his own labour and not in circumstances.

A culture of entitlement and dependency on government has robbed many young people off a primary sense of responsibility for the success of their lives. They must take responsibility like Mandela for a thorough education. He persisted through unsuccessful attempts until he got his law degree. This sense of perseverance would come to serve him in pursuit of the worthy cause for which he is now known.

As a younger generation replaces another, we must ask the question of what kind of men or women will they be? The answer lies in the commitments they embrace today. We can’t expect them to give what they don’t have if they make wrong or superficial choices. Young people must maintain a religious and life-long dedication to self improvement and cultivation of virtue like those found in Mandela if they ever hope to come near the corridors of greatness. There are no shortcuts and the price of rigour and perseverance must be paid.

They must labour to improve themselves within and embrace without a commitment to a common good even at the expense of themselves. By the way, they won’t be needing grand Mandela-like platforms. They must begin at their homes, schools, workplace, businesses, friendships and relationships. GO!

TO THYSELF BE TRUE…

The HUMAN LIFE has an INCREDIBLE CAPACITY to CREATE his OWN MEDIA, BELIEVING ONLY what he WANTS and SELLING it to his WORLD. DECEPTION is the INSTRUMENT that ALLOWS the HUMAN MIND to WRITE his OWN LIES as his STORY, to be his OWN MEDIA and his OWN AUDIENCE, together with a FEW WEAK MINDS who wear the GARMENT of HONOR but KNOW NOT its STANDARDS; and so CELEBRATES a LIE as FACT, and MEDIOCRITY as EXCELLENCE. You had better CLEAN UP and to YOURSELF be TRUE, because SOON, the same WORLD that puts its ORNAMENTS on your NECK, is the same WORLD that will REMOVE it with your SHAME in their HANDS. The KING of ALL IDEAS is to KNOW that the LIFE of the HUMAN MORTAL is NEVER about the IMPRESSIONS he can make in the MINDS of OBSERVERS…but in his DEDICATION to the CAUSE of SELF-IMPROVEMENT and DEVOTION to his MAKER. ANY ACT outside of these will have ONLY a TEMPORARY EFFECT that is INCAPABLE of SUSTAINING the kind of MEANING and BALANCE required for a UNIQUE JOURNEY of LIFE. NELSON MANDELA understands this MORE than I DO! It is a CRITICAL PART of his LEGACY. Olakunle Soriyan 

Change the APPROACH: EXCUSE your MEDIOCRITY and EMBRACE EXCELLENCE!

Nothing succeeds like excess.

Nothing succeeds like excess.

It is my sincere desire that young people will heed the call of excellence in spite of the prevailing mediocrity around them today. Regardless of the culture of underperformance that is being celebrated and dignified today, they must make a personal commitment to stretch the limits of their commitment, the quality of life they live and work they produce.

Excellence is not an attitude that can be turned on and off. Aristotle said “we are what we repeatedly do. Excellence is therefore an habit, not an act.” If we reason along this line, is it not true by the long history of mediocrity in Nigeria that we have an ingrained habit?

A lackluster approach to life, politics, work and business has prevailed long enough that excellence though unconsciously desired, is likely to come across as shocking. Because mediocrity flourishes, we are accustomed to making little demands of ourselves and of others and we roll out drums for underachievers.

In Nigeria, Politics is characterized by half-hearted commitment to development and at best, cosmetic projects and policies. At work, competence and quality crumbles under the weight of nepotism, superficiality and cheap office politics.

Our educational system is such that students can get by with superficial knowledge and their lecturers cannot challenge them to excellence because most are themselves gold standards of mediocrity. Businesses treat innovation and excellent Customer Service as burdens because they have been able to reap huge profits over the years while doing just the minimum requirement.

Let us face this truth – WE CAN CHANGE. In the absence of institutional frameworks that foster excellence or leadership that exemplifies it, we must demand excellence of ourselves and carry out a personal crusade against mediocrity.  And this we must do. This is because even though we are potentially equal, life is designed to separate people and nations over time along the divide of excellence or mediocrity.

Our global competitiveness as young people lies in our response to excellence. Our best must regularly prevail in all that we do. You can be good in a Nigerian system that allows for mediocrity but you can never be great in the context of a global economy and social system where meritocracy is the determinant of relevance. The implication of my thought here is that those who scorn excellence will always live to regret it.

Another way to arrest this culture is a lifelong dedication to growth and learning, whether we are out of school or not. Failure in our attempt at the school system should not define our efforts in other critical avenues of learning in life. Young people must be trained in the fundamental field of knowledge acquisition and application. They must embrace the strength of mind and character needed for this undertaking. They must learn to embrace mental exertion. The brain must get into the habit of sweating through rigorous use, for that is how it will grow to heights of productivity and depths of insight.

This is your personal responsibility! Our survival as young people and as a nation is in a paradigm of EXCESS, a bold and countercurrent swim against the tides of mediocrity. We need excellent students, doctors, business men, teachers, lawyers, engineers, consultants and artisans.

Excellence will start when we begin to ask ourselves these questions – Am I performing at the highest level possible? Is this the best I can give?

Now, because we may not always be clear at any given time what our best is, it is safe to listen to Oscar Wilde’s challenge – “Moderation is a fatal thing. Nothing succeeds like excess.”

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