May 28, 2021

Racing to mediocrity in South Africa

Excellence vs Mediocrity

It is apparent to me that we have created a world where mediocrity is the standard most people aspire to. We just do enough to pass our performance appraisal every year, and no more.

We do enough to keep our jobs, and no more.

We just do enough to keep out of trouble, and no more.

We show up when the boss is around and dumb down when she’s not around.

We’re smart and compassionate when our employees are around, not so much when we’re alone and influenced by our baser nature.

We are rights focused and not duty focused.

We take more than is our due and give less than we should.

We’re an ungracious lot, aren’t we?

Our Education

In South Africa we can find a kernel of an answer to our malaise in our education system (from primary school to university).

In the main, our education system has been stripped of any semblance of intelligence. It is designed to cater for the lowest common denominator. This dumbed down, watered down version is a race to the bottom. A race to mediocrity.

Sub-par education has created a Frankenstein monster of indolence, insolence and ignorance. On our current trajectory, South Africa has no hope of competing with the very best in the world.

I’m of course not blind to the quagmire of challenges that face this beloved country due to the inequalities of the past (and, present … the elite still gorge themselves at the trough of privilege at the expense of everyone else). This is not unique to South Africa and has been a thing since Adam and Eve gorged on the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge.

Is there a solution?

I don’t know … I think it may be easier to get the Palestinians and Israelis to work together than solve the disease of mediocrity.

I will definitely sign up for any philosophy that promotes excellence and raises standards.

Be excellent and say no to mediocrity
Choose excellence over mediocrity

I try and do my highfalutin bit

I sometimes use highfalutin words in the texts I write. I don’t sound pompous because I think I’m smarter than anyone else, my D-average in matric attests that I’m not the sharpest knife in the set.

I use highfalutin words as a test. I want my readers to pause and be curious about a word they don’t understand. I want them to go to the dictionary and find out what that word means so that they can raise their personal bar a tad.

I’ve had people send me messages asking what a word means. These are not my tribe because if they were really curious, industrious and awake, they’d look up the word themselves. They’d have initiative and drive.

It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.

Mark Twain

Be curious.

Be exceptional.

Let us all raise our standards.

The alternative is too ghastly to contemplate.

Photo Credit: Depositphotos

One Comment on “Racing to mediocrity in South Africa

Fred Beunink
May 31, 2021 at 9:24 am

Well written – as usual – Jacques!
Where to start, that is the question.
But if we all just shrug our shoulders at this issue we will go nowhere fast.
If we all start living a more extraordinary life instead of demanding some or other right we could perhaps turn this Titanic around – as long as it is not one iceberg at a time… 🙂


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