Abstract: Gratitude is the fuel that could guide excellence. “Did you become excellent with the many gifts that were given you?”, will be one of the questions we’ll need to account for at the end of this game.
Many of us baulk at the culture of mediocracy that has misshapen our world today. It has become the most prevalent disease of our age and has malformed us as a species.
It has turned us from craftsmen into caricatures of carelessness and from excellent to errant.
Excellence has become a Grail quest for many leaders, consultants and authors. There’s a befuddling amount of advice on how to strive for excellence. I’ve decided to pick a lane and run my idea of excellence through the filter that I’m going to argue for now.
In this piece of text I’m going to argue for one overarching reason to strive for excellence as a human being. The fuel that propels this premise is a concept called gratitude.
Why Strive For Excellence
There are many reasons to strive for excellence. The usual suspects include becoming a better boss, a better employee, a better father/mother/son/daughter.
We are told that being excellent is about how we show up in the world. The better we tackle the work before us, the more useful we are. The more useful we are the more our agenda for security, power, fulfilment and harmony is met. Most texts about excellence are concerned with the issue of people, production and profits
I argue that when it comes to excellence there’s a bigger concern than people, production and profits. That concern is gratitude to something infinitely wiser than we are!
Gratitude should be superordinate to everything. And, excellence is the currency of gratitude which is due to our Creator who allows us to play here for a little while.
This story that we’re enjoying now was written solely to enchant us and to give us an opportunity to express the divine in us.
The Real Purpose of Excellence
In my opinion, the real question is how are we going to recompense our creator for allowing us to experience the awesomeness that is our lives?
There are only two possible ways we can present ourselves to our creator one day:
- F$*k You
- Thank You.
If it’s a f$*k you it’ll mean that we treated this life as an arbitrary, throwaway thing that has no meaning. At best, this attitude justifies us embracing the mediocrity that is the dominant Zeitgeist in today’s world. At worst, it turns us into selfish predators concerned only with the issues of survival.
If it’s a thank-you, then it means that we treated this life as something wonderful, adventurous and treasured. It means that we strove to break the shackles of mediocrity, ingratitude and self-interest to become the most excellent version of ourselves.
There’ll come a day when you and I will be ferried by Charon over the River Styx to meet our creator.
What will our coin be? How will we show our gratitude for this brief interlude that is our life before our continuation date? Will our best work be a dung heap of mediocrity, misery and malice? Or will we present as a piece of excellence, a work of art and the greatest version of ourselves?