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Pursuing Excellence Against All Odds

Excellence means the quality of being outstanding or extremely good. According to Booker T. Washington “Excellence is to do a common thing in an uncommon way.”

I am pretty sure that some of you heard these words when you were growing up, “if anything is worth doing, it is worth doing well”. These words would have been spoken by none other than our parents. Today as the adult you have become, “are you pursuing excellence?”.  If not, what happened along the way?

There are many reasons why people stop pursuing excellence, some of them are:

  1. Lack of motivation: there is no standard to follow so you stopped trying. In the absence of suitable role models, your puny efforts to excel might have been met with ridicule or discouragement -” why are you bothering yourself?”, “this is how it has always been done”, “in our family no one goes to college.” So inevitably you settled.
  2. Lack of confidence: you may have been talked down to as a child. “You can’t do anything right”, “you won’t amount to anything”, “you are useless”, so you stopped trying.
  3. Lack of vision: when you hear negative messages, after a while it becomes ingrained in our psyche. You come to believe what you have been told. This places a limitation on your growth as an individual, your self-worth goes down, you become stunted; you do not aspire to much, you have no goals, no vision for your life. “Why try?” you say to yourself, “let me just stay here, this is the best I can ever be”

If you are child of the living God, you now have the ammunition or what it takes to get past your hang-ups, insecurities, and to be an overcomer. How does one overcome these obstacles and negative messages:

By Believing in Yourself – you are created in the image of God  and His word tells you in Psalm 139:14 that  you are fearfully and wonderfully made. You need to stop listening to the lies of the devil and start believing God’s word about who you are. You need to make positive confessions to yourself using God’s word. I know that there are masses of new age, feel good personal development books out there. If that is your choice, power to you. I choose to believe in the truth of the word of God.

Perseverance – make it your aim to push the limits in anything you set yourself to do. Do not give up. Refuse to set the bar low. Do not set low standards for yourself and succumb to mediocrity. You have to set your face like flint for the Most High God will help you therefore you will not be disgraced (Isaiah 50:7). This means that you have to be determined to keep going and finish strong.

The Right Attitude  will take you very far. Think about it for a minute. You have to make a conscious decision to focus on the positive things in your life. Keep Philippians 4:8 in mind at all times – “whatever  things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any  virtue and if there is anything  praiseworthy – meditate on these things”. This verse is loaded. Keep soaring upward like the eagle. You can do it, you have got what it takes. Do not go off track, focus.

Understandably, none of this comes easy. It is not easy to unlearn some of the negative or painful messages we got growing up. There is some level of pain involved so some people may choose to cop out rather than confront it head on. At the end of the day, you need to remember that you were given one life to live. What account will  you give of yourself to your Maker when the time comes, should you choose not to live to your full potential. Every human being must make a choice to grow.So set your face like flint and rely on your God to move you through each stage.

Yaa F. Attobrah


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