MOVING FROM MEDIOCRITY TO EXCELLENCE By PASTOR T.O.BANSO “The sad thing is many people who have been with a company five years do not have five years’ experience. They have one year’s experience five times and no specific plans for making next year anything but a repeat performance” (Zig Ziglar) I think organizations which ask for years of experience from applicants have something to learn from the statement above because some applicants with the 15 years of experience for example, may have worked in different organizations for 15 years without having 15years’ experience. They may have only 2 years’ experience in all of their 15 years of working! I’m not a scientist but I once read somewhere about the law of perpetual renewal which according to scientists says that there is not a cell in our bodies that is more than 12 months old – there is a process of reconstruction taking place every time – two or three pairs of lungs every year, renewal of stomach and other organs. It is said that the arterial system, the brain and the nervous system are renewed every 60 or 90 days, the skin is renewed completely every 5 or 6 weeks, the bony structure is renewed 11 or 12 months as it takes the longest period to renew while the eyes are renewed every 6 or 7 months. There is however the proviso that renewal can take a longer time in a situation where the general health of the body is not good. Where the cells are cancerous, the mechanisms regulating cell division break down; cells divide rapidly without control and ultimately mass into tumors. The point I am trying to make from what scientists have told us is that nothing remains static but everything is being renewed to continuously provide better services. That is why all these organs can function effectively well most times throughout a man’s life. Excellence is not about flawlessness; it is about continuous improvement. But how can a man’s performance in an organization be better when he is not improving his competence and skills? How can he achieve better productivity when he makes no serious commitment towards self improvement? This is the reason for mediocrity that we find in our society whether in the public or private life. There are varying degrees of mediocrity everywhere – church, school, government, public institutions etc. I know there is the need for institutional responsibility towards capacity building but there must be a personal commitment too. Unless there is personal commitment to self development, mediocrity will continue to take its toll on us all. There have been cases where individuals have paid the required fees to invest in themselves and they are the better for it today – that is without any financial contribution from their organizations. No organization can take from you the skills and competences you have acquired by paying the required fees to develop yourself. But unfortunately there are others who never reciprocated their organizations’ good gesture – they either did not take advantage of capacity building programmes or did not maximize such trainings. Jesus Christ was a master trainer, tutor and mentor. When you look at the background of all his disciples and what he turned them to in just a period of three years, it is amazing. They consisted of fisher men, tax collectors etc and these ones shook their world; they turned their world upside down. (Acts 17:6) In fact, it was a marvel to their world that though most of them did not have much education they were able to achieve so much. Every employer and manager of men and resources must recognize the need for continuous training for increased productivity. The people themselves must not only make themselves available for such when organized for them but must even on their own pursue personal development – a competent person is a confident person. Better performance can give you better exposure. David was brought before King Saul to play harp for him whenever the evil spirit that had come upon him began to trouble him because he was skilful at playing this musical instrument. (1Samuel 16:16-21) The Church must not place emphasis on the operations of the Holy Spirit alone (and the HOLY SPIRIT is most important) but must also give priority attention to practical training for development of her stewards in every department of church life. Gone are the days when church is synonymous with mediocrity. This is not advocating professionalism above the spontaneity of the Holy Spirit, which has been the pretext for perpetuating mediocrity. Why did Jesus not send out his disciples without training them? Why did he spend most of his time teaching them and not just praying with them? As important as prayer was, something which Jesus himself emphasized in his teaching, you can count the number of times he prayed with his disciples. In fact, they had to ask him to teach them how to pray. But Jesus did more of training teaching the disciples including teaching them how to pray. The church must not condone mediocrity. Church workers and Christians must not tolerate mediocre performance in their lives. All of us must move towards self improvement and better performance everyday; each must set record for himself and break it himself. There should be no room for stagnation. Yesterday’s achievements may not be enough to meet today’s challenges. Do you want to live a life of excellence? Let me share with you LIES MEDIOCRE TELL THEMSELVES, which keep them perpetually at the bottom of the ladder. If you want to climb to the top in life, you must shun mediocrity and pursue excellence. I’ m trying my best, God knows. The truth is you can do better than what you call your best at the moment. This is how everybody does it. I’m not the only one. That is why you are getting the same result they are getting. If you want to get a better result than what they have, do something positively different though it may place more demand on you. You will, all the same, find it more rewarding. It is not my fault; I did my own part. He always transfers responsibility for non-performance. Accept responsibility for your life. If you had made it, would you have given the credit to those you are blaming now? Stop passing the buck. Don’t behave like Eve and Adam. (Genesis 3:11-13) This is the best anybody can do Who told you that? That is not true - it can be better. Stretch yourself mentally and physically and you will be surprised at the great possibilities you have not explored. After all I am still better than some people, some people’s performances are worse than mine; others are not as good as my own. Stop comparing yourself with others; face your life. Comparison is not a mark of wisdom but foolishness. (2 Corinthians 10:12) I wish you were in my shoes, you don’t know what I went through to produce this. But it is still a mediocre performance. Who cares what you went through if the product at the end of the day is a disappointment? Everybody wears his own shoes, they’re your size, wear them! This is the way we have always been doing it. That‘s why you’ve been getting the same poor result. Who says it can’t be done another way? Rules should be a guide and not become chains. Rules should be broken if they hinder the realization of goals; they should not become sacrosanct like the Ten Commandments. Even Jesus in fulfilling Ten Commandments interpreted it in relation to God’s love for mankind. I was the one doing this thing when we first started, I built this, I did that but now he has dumped me because I’m not from his tribe and because he has found new people. Most times that is not the reason. It’s true that you did all you said when you started but you have refused to improve over the years. You can’t keep doing it the way you were doing it 5 years ago. Your present level of performance was good for what you were doing five years ago but not today. You have refused to improve on your performance. You have remained stagnant while the organization is moving forward. You can not hold the organization to ransom with your past contributions. You were not the only one that contributed. Don’t bring in tribal sentiments. If your tribal affiliation did not work against you then, how do you think it should work against you now? What are the enemies of excellence? The following will not allow you to pursue excellence in any field of endeavour either in the kingdom of God or in the secular: - No vision, ignorance of one’s strength, weakness, role, place and work, laziness, no mentor – coach, trainer, teacher, Refusal to accept personal responsibility, no sacrifice – inability to delay gratification, comparison, indiscipline, pride (it will make you not teachable and not to accept correction), fear of failure (it will not permit you to try anything new) You must conquer these if you want to excel in life. Not conquering them will keep you on the same spot in life marking time; you will become archaic, obsolete and unusable. You must ask yourself these vital questions: Where am I now? What is my growth plan? Where do I want to get to? What do I need to get there? How do I get there? When do I want to get there? Finding correct answers to these questions will put you on the path towards improving yourself. Do whatever it is going to cost you to do it, and it will cost you time, money, discipline etc. but it is more in your own interest to build your capacity than in the interest of the organization you may be serving because you add to yourself (and even if it is the organization that trains you) no one can take it back from you. Those of us who serve in the House of God should train ourselves for the services we render so that the kingdom of God can be advanced in our hands. We must exercise ourselves and practise more. We must pray for God to give us wisdom just as He gave Bezaleel and the other men He called along side him to do the work of the tabernacle and those things inside it. (Exodus 31) The church can train you but you can also pay for your own training in your desire to impact the kingdom of God positively. If you have the means and the training is relevant, pay for it, don’t wait for the church; it is service unto the Lord and he will reward you abundantly. There is nothing wrong in using what you have now to serve the Lord no matter how crude it is. You don’t have to wait until you are perfect. God is not looking for perfect stewards but faithful stewards. (1 Corinthians 4:2) Make yourself available for Christian service just as you are but continuously improve yourself as you serve in the kingdom. Do what you can do now but aim at excellence.
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