The Benchmark of Excellence
– Muhammad Sohaib Niazi
The world is full of theories and opinions as to what it means to be truly successful person. There is a hue and cry about the “keys” to excelling in life. You may encounter an “ambitious” teacher chanting “Utmost hard work is the key my boys! You have to leave everything to be the top performer at GMAT!” Yet another mom endorsing, “My girl you have to ace at Medical exam, these girls are mad with whom you hang out all evening”. And another merchant saying, “Life is all about fun! We don’t need any serious attitude to become successful”.
A bird’s eye view of our society will reveal that it has conditioned majority of the masses to be extremist in whatever they do by rewarding and highlighting the “Best” only. Consequently people since their childhood think that the true benchmark for excellence is to be the best in education, to be the fittest athlete, to be first in the race, to be the highest achiever, to be the person with Straight As, to be the most beautiful, to be most in-demand accountant, to be the wealthiest and so on.
While some of you might think that the Engineering geek in your class is the person who is going to be truly successful and is right on the track. Some might think that a person who always wastes time wandering and socializing will soon face the adverse consequences. While the first person may be extremely satisfied and effective in the field he or she is putting his or her all efforts. Logically the second person is effective in one arena of life as well. People have a wrong notion about today’s society that it rewards the ‘extremists’ but it is not the fact. The majority may get reward for their ‘extreme’ efforts but in the long run, all the pure success stories usually will belong to some other make of people. Let’s see then who is truly excellent.
The Issue with Extremism
Those people who are extremists always scarify other areas of life to outshine just in one field of life. A hardworking student who is proud to study for long 12 hours may boast it, but believe me that student will also crave to relish life and to enjoy the teenage. What will such person do with grades if one has no social life and enjoyments? Similarly a guy who always enjoys to be social and has lived a life of joy, will miss the success of fellows who will soon get better jobs and status. Both of them are worthy of pity. All this boils down to one point, that then what is the actual benchmark to strive for in life?
Finding the Right Balance
My people, the actual benchmark is to create a balance between the various diversities of life to be truly successful persons and professionals. There is a concept of Golden Mean in Philosophy that states that for any individual to achieve pure satisfaction in life is to find that golden mean i.e. a right balance among all the arenas of life.
A person who managed to be in the top 10% of the class, has an enjoyable social life, satisfying relationships and an all-round personality to become an independent human is far better a success than a person who was just a gold medalist and a bookworm losing all the charisma of life. After all many great success stories don’t belong to those who just stood 1st in the class. This tells us that the world actually values a complete person and professional. An accountant is a human first. And a fulfilled human can be a good professional in any situation. The modern corporate world even value ‘complete persons’, who are mentally good enough, physically energetic, emotionally intelligent and spiritually fulfilled.
Being the Best Manager
Management Gurus propose one most comprehensive definition of Management as; “Optimization of resources is called Management”. We all are managers of our lives and our lives have limited and scarce resource of time and unlimited needs and wants to be successful and what not. That is why the balance is vital for true success. It ensures that we utilize the resources of life in the best possible way and invest our life realistically in different areas of life at a proportionate rate to achieve a golden balance. The approach should not be to achieve perfectionism but to be an ever improving individual who polishes all the sides of his or her life.
Ill with Perfectionism
By trying in vain to be invulnerable in any field of life, no matter how hard you try you will never reach that 100% perfectionism level ever. As the standard of perfectionism will keep moving away as you will get closer. You invest around half of the time for any venture or task in life to make it better from 85% performance level to 95% level. The sad part is that no one and only you can tell the difference. This way you will do more harm than good to your life.
As Confucius said “To go past the mark is as wrong as to fall short”.
The world will be happy with you at anything above 70% performance level.
Point of Action
The idea is to be somewhere in between the two extremes of anything or activity in life. By giving your time, energies and commitment to your studies, social life, enjoyments, family, friends, business etc. at a level that will keep you well above average in all areas of life will certainly add up to better success than mere acing in one field. At first, digesting this thought might be quite hard, if you have been extremist for long years.
Minding Your Business
You have to monitor yourself at every moment in life and decide that spending another two hours studying for one more possible mark in the exam is worth it or not. This is called respecting your limits with respect to your requirements. It doesn’t mean settle for ordinary, of course the aspects of life in which you have more strength, you must excel to a level of satisfaction but with the right mind set. If you need 80% to get into medical college, then striving without a reason for 90% just to get an edge over “competitors” is not at all wise while compromising your ever melting life. Do efforts just for serving your own purpose.
Check whether you are doing justice to your life or are just trying in vain to compensate all the seas through your one pond only. Keeping balance at all times in life is the key to happiness. BMW with loads of loan is not a success. A corolla with a happy family certainly is a great blessing. Whenever you feel unsatisfied in life, take a look at your routine and you would have drifted to one or the extreme in any aspect of life.
Ben Franklin said, “The wise learn from the mistakes of others, fools, scarcely from their own.”
Next time you find yourself willing to do anything to be the best of the best, take a moment to rethink. You may find it is better to be the best “you” you can be- Excellence.
From now on you have to live by one line “ The ideal person is never the best at anything rather he or she is better in almost all the things which makes one truly excellent both in personal as well as professional life”