“But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.”
(1 Corinthians 14:40 NIV)
“Let all things be done decently and in order.” This scripture got me thinking about “excellence”.
Excellence distinguishes the men from the boys. It separates the high-flyer from the mediocre. It marks the difference between celebrated men and tolerated men.
Excellence – a journey, not a destination; an attitude, not an attainment.
The world hates the demands of excellence yet respects it when on display. Why? Excellence and convenience are strange bed-fellows. The two are mutually exclusive. It is true: Those who pursue convenience never attain the heights of excellence!
Excellence is not an event, it is a person. It isn’t what you do, but who you are that impacts what you do!
Excellence is not a function of where you are but who you are!
Excellence is not about what you have but it shows in what you do with what you have!
Excellence is not what you do but how you do what you do!
Excellence is that touch of gold, the spirit, and the attitude of heart that permeates all you do.
Excellence is a passion, a consummate desire to do small things in big ways. Excellence it is, that does common things in uncommon ways. Excellence it is, that does the ordinary with an extra touch.
The mundane acquires the status of importance when a person of excellence does it. Excellence affects our “being” before our “doing”.
This is missing yet in a lot of places in our nation today. But I see the dawn of a new day! Because as Booker T. Washington wrote in his book, “Up from Slavery”, “No race can prosper till it learns that there is as much dignity in tilling a field as in writing a poem.”
It reminds me of a story: After several attempts and defeats, Abraham Lincoln eventually became the president of the United States. On his first day in office, President Lincoln entered the Congress to give his inaugural speech. Just in the middle, one man stood up. He was a rich aristocrat. He said, “Mr. Lincoln, you should not forget that your father used to make shoes for my family”. The whole assembly laughed; they thought they had made a fool of Abraham Lincoln. But Lincoln and these types of people are made of a totally different material.
Lincoln looked at the man and said, “Sir, I know that my father used to make shoes in your house for your family and there will be many others here too…. Because the way he made shoes, nobody else can. He was a creator. His shoes were not just shoes; he poured his whole soul into it. I want to ask you, have you any complaint? Because I know how to make shoes myself, if you have any complaint I can make another pair of shoes. But as far as I know, nobody has ever complained about my father’s shoes. He was a genius, a great creator and I am proud of my father.”
|"His shoes were not just shoes; he poured his whole soul into it."|
The whole gathering was struck dumb. They could not understand what kind of man Abraham Lincoln was. He had made shoe-making an art, creativity. And he was proud because his father did the job so well that not even a single complaint had ever been heard.
That was excellence on display. Whatever you touch becomes gold. You see, what John W. Gardner said is true: “The society which scorns excellence in plumbing because plumbing is a humble activity, and tolerate shoddiness in philosophy because philosophy is an exalted activity, will have neither good plumbing nor good philosophy. Neither its pipes nor its theories will hold water”.