By Leymah R. Gbowee
My daughter recently scored a B – (B minus) on a math test. Her advisor asked her why her score was low, and her response was, “The highest mark on the test is B.” To which her advisor responded, “What does that have to do with you?” She, of course, had no response.
When her advisor informed me, I was quite upset. I expressed my disappointment to my daughter, not because she scored B minus, but because she measures her success/failure by what others are achieving.
Over the last few years of running the foundation, I have seen how many of my students are so happy with scoring the bare minimum—we have a required 3.5 GPA for all of our scholarship students. It saddens me that most strive not for 3.5 but for 3.0. Their response is usually, “At least I am in the bracket.”
As I have seen, the world is no longer interested in mediocrity. EXCELLENCE is now the threshold for admiration, celebration, and investment. To succeed in the world, we must strive to set higher standards. Setting a higher standard requires two things:
1. Refusing Ordinary — one’s refusal to be ordinary requires producing quality in every task. Quality is produced by competing with yourself to outdo your previous best and make the most of the opportunity and time life hands you. Believe you can and work hard to break barriers and reach heights you never deemed possible.
2. Stay the course — achieving excellence requires Patience and Tenacity. Do Not Rush! It takes many years of dedication of repeatedly doing the small things well to achieve greatness. Remind yourself that anything that comes too quickly is not worth the fight.
Proverbs 13:11 — “Wealth hastily gotten will dwindle, but those who gather little by little will increase.” Though the verse talks about wealth, it applies to all life’s processes. High standards are not set at the top. They are forged in our commitment to the little steps before that point.
- Mrs. Gbowee is a 2011 Nobel Peace Prize Winner, Liberian peace activist, trained social worker and women’s rights advocate.
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