PASTOR T. O. BANSO
The Longman Business Dictionary defines excellence as “when someone is very good at something, or when something is of very high quality.” Mediocrity, according to BusinessDictionary is “Being average and ordinary.”
From its definition, excellence is not about flawlessness; it is about being very good or being of high quality. Looking at the definition of mediocrity, one can say that being average and ordinary is not bad, but remaining so is. All those who have attained excellence did so by continuous self-improvement.
Unless you improve your competence by sharpening your skills, your performance can’t be better. If you have no serious commitment towards self-improvement, you can’t achieve better productivity.
Zig Ziglar said, “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.”
I think organizations that ask for specific years of experience from applicants have something to learn from the statement. Some applicants with supposed fifteen years experience may have experience of only three years or four years!
There is a need for both institutional responsibility towards capacity building and a personal commitment to self-development. No organization can take from you the skills you acquire by paying the required training fees to develop yourself.
Jesus Christ was a master trainer, tutor, and mentor. In just three years, he turned his disciples, who were mostly uneducated, into world shakers (Acts 4:13) and those accused of turning their world upside down! (Acts 17:6).
Whatever your calling is, move from mediocrity to excellence. Keep developing yourself for greater effectiveness and efficiency. Never rest on your laurels. Read more books, go back to school, go for more training, and practise. Competence breeds confidence!
Excellence will give you better and more platforms. David was brought before King Saul to play harp for him because he was a skillful player (1Samuel 16:15-18). He must have been developing himself for years never knowing he would be playing for the king one day.
Keep developing yourself; keep practising; keep studying, etc. You may never before the ‘king’ you’ll stand to demonstrate your skills or render your services to. Quit mediocrity; stop being a mediocrity (mediocre person).
The number of years you’ve spent doing something is not enough if there’s no excellence achieved through self-development/self-improvement.
This does not exclude the church. We can’t overemphasize the importance of the HOLY SPIRIT, but we must also give priority to the practical training of workers towards achieving excellence.
I’m not a medical doctor, but I learnt that there is, in the human body, a regeneration of cells or production of new cells to replace diseased, old, or effete cells to maintain the integrity of organs in the body. Cells can become diseased, injured, or expend (exhaust) their lifespan.
For example, the lifespan of red blood cells is 120 days, so when old cells expend their lifespan they are replaced by new cells through the process of erythropoiesis (blood cell production and development).
Red blood cells are important for the transport of oxygen among other functions, hence, the need for the production of new red blood cells once the old cells expend their lifespan and get destroyed.
Other examples include the production of new bone cells to repair a fractured bone, and the production of stratified squamous epithelial cells (skin cells) to replace dead skin cells. This maintains the integrity of the skin.
However, 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 is that nothing remains permanent; there is a regeneration of cells or production of new cells for the healthy functioning of the organs of the human body.
Excellence is not about flawlessness; it is about continuous improvement. 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 accounts for the proliferation of mediocrity in our society, whether in the public or private life. There are varying degrees of mediocrity everywhere. People are not regenerating themselves. They’re not rejuvenating, revitalizing, rekindling, or retooling themselves for better performance. I
I know that there is the need for institutional responsibility towards capacity building of the staff, but there must be a personal commitment too. Unless there is a personal commitment to self-development, mediocrity would 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 competencies you have acquired by paying the money required for self-development. Unfortunately, others never reciprocated the good gestures of their organizations. They did not take advantage of capacity building programmes or maximize such pieces of training.
When you look at the background of all the disciples of Jesus, and what He turned them to in just a period of three years, it is amazing. They consisted of fishermen, 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 must not only make themselves available for such training when they are organized for them, they should on their own pursue personal development – competence breeds confidence.
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 skillful at playing this musical instrument (1Samuel 16:15-21).
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 the development of her stewards in every department of church life. Gone are the days when the 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. 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 every day; each person must set a record for himself, and break it. There should be no room for stagnation. Yesterday’s achievements may not be enough to meet today’s challenges.
Some lies mediocrities tell themselves
Do you want to live a life of excellence? Let me share with you Lies mediocrities tell themselves, which keep them at the bottom of the ladder. If you want to climb to the top in life, you must shun mediocrity and pursue excellence.
1.I’m trying my best, God knows. The truth is you can do better than what you regard as your best at the moment.
2. This is how everybody does it. I’m not the only one. That’s why you’re getting the same result they’re 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’ll, all the same, find it more rewarding.
3. It isn’t my fault; I did my own part. A mediocre person 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 as Eve and Adam did (Genesis 3:9-13).
4. 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.
5. After all, I’m still better than some people; some people’s performances are worse than mine; others aren’t as good as mine. Stop comparing yourself with others; face your life. Comparison isn’t a mark of wisdom, but foolishness (2 Corinthians 10:12).
6. I wish you were in my shoes, you don’t know what I went through to achieve this. Nevertheless, what you’ve achieved is still a mediocre performance. Who cares what you went through if the product at the end of the day is not good enough? Everybody wears his own shoes; they’re your size, wear yours! Such an attitude will keep you as an average person.
7. This is the way we’ve 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 the Ten Commandments interpreted it in relation to God’s love for humanity.
8. 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, country, etc. 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’ve refused to improve over the years. You can’t keep doing it the way you were doing it five years ago. Your present level of performance was good for what you were doing five years ago but not today. You’ve refused to improve on your performance. You’ve remained stagnant while the organization is moving forward. You can’t hold the organization to ransom with your past contributions. You weren’t the only one that contributed. Don’t bring in tribal sentiments. If your tribal affiliation didn’t work against you then, how do you think it should work against you now?
Some enemies of excellence
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:
2. Ignorance of one’s strength, weakness, role, place, and work.
3. No mentor, coach, trainer, or teacher.
4. Refusal to accept personal responsibility
5. Failure to make the needed sacrifice – the inability to delay gratification.
7. Pride (it will make you unteachable and unable to accept correction).
8. Fear of failure, and sometimes fear of success.
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 obsolete, irrelevant, and unusable.
Pertinent questions for self-improvement
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. However, 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 (even if it is the organization that trains you) no one can take it back from you.
Those of us serving 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 alongside him to do the work of the tabernacle and those things inside it (Exodus 31:1-11).
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 with 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 (1Corinthians 4:2). Make yourself available for Christian service just as you are, but continue to improve yourself as you serve in the Kingdom. Do what you can do now, but aim at excellence, not perfection. Be a lifelong learner.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The LORD be with you.
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
WhatsApp No: +2349081295947