“High expectations are the key to everything.” Sam Walton

“There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” Nelson Mandela

When I was a senior in high school long, long ago, I took Anatomy and Physiology as an elective. The teacher was excellent as well as fair. In the first semester I received 89.75 for a grade. Now many would interpret this number as either A- or B+. It could go either way depending on the mood of the teacher and his desire to be more generous. My teacher interpreted the number as a B+. On Parents’ night shortly thereafter, my mother questioned the teacher’s decision out of curiosity. His response to her was, “Your daughter is capable of doing better.” When my mother arrived home, she relayed the information. We both saw it as a compliment. Rather than giving me the coveted prize, his message was to encourage me to raise the bar. I never forgot this, and hopefully, as I continue this journey of life the pursuit of excellence will remain in the forefront.

We live in a day and age where many things are derived instantaneously. As I have written in other posts, new innovations make many aspects of life much easier. With that said, this ease can lead to complacency and disappointment. When I was growing up, you did not receive a reward for just showing up. Although there were never guarantees, those who were diligent and persisted often reaped the benefits of their fruitfulness. Not everyone is gifted with natural athletic prowess, innate creative talent or genius capacity, yet they can still pursue excellence. What does the pursuit of excellence mean? For me, it is striving to be the best you can be in whatever form that is whether it be a parent, professional or just a good, kind human being. In fact, those who have any easy path along the way because their natural gifts are so readily available often become stumped if they are not challenged early on. The sooner this happens the better! Why? It raises the bar and reminds them they are mortals like the rest of us. Consequently, they can either choose to surrender and hope the God of Fortune returns to their side, or they can accept the challenge and possibly attain a greater height than ever before. The former eventually contributes to boredom and withering of drive. The latter promotes the pursuit of excellence, builds character and contributes to a greater sense of achievement, accomplishment and motivation. There is truly nothing like it. 

A few years ago, I attended a conference with a small gathering. We had a discussion about blogging, and naively, I expressed disbelief when they talked about the fact that some people hire writers to create their blogs. To me, it seemed inauthentic and could not imagine doing so. The leaders of this group looked at me as if I had two heads. They asked me point blank if I thought famous celebrities wrote their own blogs or articles. I did not have an answer because I had never given much thought to the subject matter. Perhaps, if I were one of those people, it would be a different story. In the meantime, I will continue to pen my own blogs and garner satisfaction from my own attempts to be the best I can be. How about you?