I was going through an old journal the other day and found some notes i took at Dr. Samuel Koranteng-Pipim and Dr. Joyce Aryee‘s lecture on excellence which was delivered at the national theatre. The lecture was to launch their book “The Transformed Mind” which the two authored. Although i have not read the book yet, it is definitely on my “to read list”. I decided to share the notes i took from that lecture here because first it struck a chord for me, i believe i discerned more from it now than before. Second, blogging it will keep it in a form that i can easily retrieve and hopefully keep for a longer time. And third, i hope it inspires you as much as it did me. So here goes:
The transformed mind think and acts differently, calling for the rise of a new generation of transformational leaders in Africa. Also the new African is expected to excel in every field. The new African with excellence as his/her core value can rise higher than the highest. Why excellence? Africa needs to identify, display and develop its array of champions. Excellence is a mindset, its an attitude, and its knowing a person – Christ. Excellence is transcending life challenges, it is a winsome lifestyle – it is being nice, and it is a journey not a destination.
Using references from the bible (Paul understood excellence to knowing Jesus Christ), Philippians 3:12-21, the steps to excellence are as follows:
- Never be Satisfied (v. 12, 13a): Excellence is a journey not a destination. Complacency of success is the first step to mediocrity. Contentment with your accomplishment is the enemy of excellence.
- Be Single-Minded (v. 13b): If you want to excel in your career, determine what you want to do and stick to it. Focus on one thing. Focus, dedication, commitment to the one thing brings success and respect.
- Don’t look back (v. 13c): Don’t be fixated on past experiences, whether they were positive or negative.
- Go forward (v. 13d): Success begins when you set a date to start. Dreams and intentions are not enough. Go forward, don’t procrastinate, act upon your decision. Do something now…a goal without a deadline is a dream.
- Press on (v. 14a): Adopt a determination spirit; its the law of nature – where there is motion, there is friction. It is the fruitful mango trees that have stones hurled at them. The one with the ball is the one attacked. Make discouragement your encouragement.
- Be motivated from above (v. 14b): Not money, grade, recognition, position, promotion, jobs, etc. but something higher.
- Adopt the mindset of pace-setters (v. 15, 16): Don’t settle for the status quo, put some quo in the status. Be an innovator. Do something no one has tried. Dare to risk. Challenges are often the best incentive to be a pace-setter.
- Draw inspiration from positive role models (v. 17): Hangout with persons better than you. If you are a leader, surround yourself with people smarter.
- Keep away from the wrong crowd (v. 18, 19): We unconsciously pick up habits from those around us. Those we are exposed to affects what we think about, and what we think about affects who we are becoming. To live a life of excellence, you need to surround yourself with those on the same path.
- Keep your eyes on the prize (v. 20, 21): Have a clear vision and be fixated on it. No matter the ups and downs, the challenges life throws at you, with your eyes firmly fixed on the prize…excellence will be the path that you will beat always.
I hope these steps encourage and inspire you on your pursuits as they did me. Often we know what the right thing to do is, that we only need to “just do it”, but then times come that we forget, that we seem to lose the will. At those times chancing across inspiring content like this helps to bring us back to our core and recommit us to focus on our tasks at hand. Instead of leaving it to chance, these steps might be just what we need to be more deliberate about pursuing excellence in our lives.
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