When we were still in school, there was a day set aside every year to reward the best students in each and every subject. The interesting thing was that in every class there obviously was somebody who would have excelled and become the best in each subject, but that best in one class could easily be the twentieth in another class in terms of that particular subject. The school system did not recognize those ones; only the ones who would have excelled and risen above the competition among all the school students in that grade. That system presented a profound lesson which we could not see. The lesson was that even though we were in different classes our performance was not to be confined to class standard but to look at the bigger picture, which was to beat the entire school.
Focussing on local performance has hoodwinked many people into resting on their laurels and failed to stretch themselves to excellent performance. They have been made to slip into thinking that they are the best notwithstanding their local best performance is global mediocre standard.
In the work place you might be working well, having good relations with your bosses and got a couple of promotions but the cut to the chase question is whether you are pursuing world-class performance. If you are not seeking world-class performance you risk rolling down the hill of complacency into the ocean of mediocrity. You might be doing just fine but remember, good can always be great and great can be greater!
The talent that we see in the world today is nothing compared to what we should be seeing had many people developed a desire for world-class performance. Almost in every generation there are those that are willing to push the envelope by pursuing world-class performance and setting new records. In the 1908 Olympics the fastest runner in the 200 metre event did it in 22.6 seconds and the whole world was in awe. The records have been considerably broken and in 2008 Usain Bolt set the new record by running the same race in 19.19 seconds. Pursuit of world-class performance enables us to reach new levels where we even surprise ourselves.
Someone once said that Barack Obama was not supposed to be the first African-American President of the United States and I acquiesced. Someone with that potential did not seek world-class performance in the political arena.
We are fooled into believing that world-class performers were born like that because of the innate talent theory that people usually try to portray when singing praises for them. What we are not told is how they work hard and practise to gruelling extents that render their performance extraordinary. In fact, Larry Bird summed it up pointedly, “A winner is someone who recognizes his God-given talents, works his tail off to develop them into skills, and uses these skills to accomplish his goals.”
With all that you already know if you practise it, what can really stand in your way should you seriously decide on world-class performance in your chosen field of endeavour? The good thing is that you already know what you need to do to be the best in your area of business. What I like about that is that it is your chosen field, unlike Tiger Woods who was not given the liberty to choose but his father chose golf for him at a very tender age. Mozart, Michael Jackson and many others did not choose their fields but their authoritarian fathers chose for them but they became world-class performers. How much more compelling can you be in your chosen field? I challenge you to make a wise choice to shake off mediocre performance and embrace world-class performance.