The Decline of Excellence

Maybe you haven’t noticed or maybe it’s just me, but there seems to be an alarming trend developing in our society these days! It seems as though, for the most part, mediocrity has become the standard of the day! Excellence no longer seems to be the common standard or goal of achievement. The common populace has grown to expect and accept the average and the ordinary as being the highest possible level of performance! This has happened to such a degree that when one performs competently in his or her field of endeavor, one is actually looked upon as doing something extraordinary! Incompetence and sub-par performance have become the norm of the day! The standards of performance have declined to the point that mediocrity and sub-par performance is expected and considered normal, while doing what is actually the normal requirement is hailed as extraordinary!

This first came to my attention some time ago when I was visiting a local McDonald’s restaurant. It wasn’t overly crowded and I was a bit pressed for time. I don’t know, maybe it was just me, but it seemed like the employees who worked there looked upon my visit as an intrusion or an interruption! I can remember the commercials some years ago when McDonald’s took pride in the fact that they were the “fastest” in the fast-food industry! But, have you visited a McDonald’s or any other fast-food restaurant lately? The next time this matter of pervasive incompetence was brought to the forefront of my thinking was when I was in the market for my first house. The real estate agents and the financial people I came in contact with were a bit sub-par, to say the least! I will spare you the gory details, but suffice to say, it was a frustrating experience and a grand display idiotic incompetence!

In many public school systems, it seems as though children are being “dummied down” to accept “C’s” and average grades as worthy goals! Today, among many school children, it’s not “cool” to be smart or even to speak Standard English! Years ago the heroes were inventors and pioneers, today they are ball players and music stars. Now this is not to demean these people or their professions as not being worthy roles models (although many of them are not!), but our children need to know that statistically speaking, their chances for making it to the NBA, the NFL, or cutting a multimillion dollar record deal are quite slim! And besides that, even if they do make it, would be to their advantage to know how to competently handle their own business affairs. The sports and music industries are littered with the wreckage of many who had the “talent” to perform but did not have the “smarts” to handle their business!

In whatever field of endeavor you are in, if you will determine to be competent in what you are doing. If you will make up your mind to refuse to drown in a sea of mediocrity. If you will determine to be the best in your chosen field. If you will always do more than what is required and do it well; not settling for doing just enough to get by. If you will elevate the standards and expectations for yourself and those with whom you associate: The world will beat a path to your doorstep and elevate you to the top of your field! If you will adopt excellence as your standard, you will rise to the top!