Wednesday, 7 April 2010

In Pursuit of Excellence 2

I am sure we all had an exciting and thrilling Easter holiday. In keeping with my promise, I will be concluding this series today and I hope it won't need a part 3. I sincerely hope so. I recommend you read "In Pursuit of Excellence 1" if you are new to this series. In part 1 we saw a few things about the first "H" which is the Heart and how it comes to play in our pursuit of excellence. Statements like "follow your heart" or "follow your passion" goes to show how important it is in our pursuit of excellence because therein lies the secret of true success. Now lets move on to the other Hs-head and hands.

2) Head
The Head speaks of the Mind - the intellect, the imagination, the reasoning and thinking faculties.
It is one thing to know what you want and be passionate about it and quite another thing to know how to get it. This is where the head comes in. The heart may be fully in it but it takes the head to fine tune and refine the process. Your passion and desire fuels you but your head provides the road map. To be passionate about a cause and yet refuse to learn the nitty gritty or rudiments of it is actually to practice folly. In fact true passion makes you hungry to know more. It is passion (desire) that drives your quest for knowledge. Proverbs 18:1 "Through desire a man, having separated himself seeketh and intermeddleth with all wisdom". There is a better way of doing that thing you do currently, seek it out. For "...I show unto you a more excellent way" I Corinthians 12:31b. Go for knowledge, go for information. Knowledge makes your journey shorter. Get educated, enlightened and informed about that stuff for which you pursue excellence. A story was told of Soichiro Honda, founder of Honda Motor co. He has been passionate about automobiles right from childhood and actually set out in pursuit of his passion. The story had it that he had great difficulties making marketable pistons. He lacked the requisite knowledge to do this and his competitors were not willing to oblige him either. Fueled by passion, he went back to school and took up a course in production. He attended only classes that deal with production and as a result his academic performance was very poor. Worried by his poor performance, the coordinator of the college called him to find out what the problem was. You know what Honda told him? Honda tried to explain to the coordinator that he was not there for the certificate but for the knowledge of production. He was eventually kicked out of school but he went home armed with the knowledge of how to make marketable pistons. That is when passion meets knowledge.

The heart may be fully in it but it takes the head to fine tune and refine the process.

Another aspect of the head that must be involved in your pursuit of excellence is the imagination. Romans 12: 2b admonishes us " be transformed by the renewing of our minds". There are those who are prisoners of their (negative) imaginations. Imaginations are deep rooted thoughts, mental images/pictures in the subconscious mind. They often influence and dictate the thought patterns of the conscious mind. Take it or leave it, your transformation has a lot to do with the quality of your imaginations (thought life). "For as a man thinketh so is he", the Bible tells us. You can't hold a picture of mediocrity in your head and expects excellence. Negative imaginations are strongholds and the scriptures in II Corinthians 10: 4 enjoins us to cast down every imagination that exalts themselves above the knowledge of God. Positively engage your imagination with thoughts, images and pictures of excellence. That's meditation! Let them saturate you on the inside and failure will be far from you. This practice is not a piece of cake, I must confess. The ability to hold a mental image or picture of that which you desire no matter the happenings around you is no mean task. But thank God we walk by faith and not by sight (II Corinthians 5:7).

Excellence is not for the mentally lazy. Engage your reasoning and thinking faculties in your pursuit of excellence. Sit down, and thoughtfully plan your ways. Fine, you know what you want but have you a plan of actions which if followed will deliver? That things ain't working out as expected, have you sat down to think it through?. I don't mean worrying about a problem. Rather be creative and innovative in your thinking. Do you know there are those who are paid to think through problems? Oyedepo once said that God gave us brains so He could have some rest. Use your head no be curse. Hope you know your hands (activities, works) can not be wiser than your head. What your hands do is a function of how intelligent you are upstairs.

Your hands can not be wiser than your head.
There is a lot to say on the head but time and space won't permit.

3) Hands
The hands speak of work and physical activities. Your work is your portrait and signature, so you better be serious about yours. Excellence does not respond to mere wishes but to hard work. Pay attention to your work-the finished product. Be sure of the quality before it goes on display. It's no crime to have an internal quality control system in place. Let men know you for something.
Be skillful and diligent about it. For the Bible warns in Proverbs 10:4 that "He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand: but the the hand of the diligent maketh rich".
"Seesth thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men" Proverbs 22:29

The Bible say in Proverbs 13: 4, "The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing". Don't let that idea die in your head! Translate it into work with your hands. God promised to bless the works of our hands. It means we take delivery of HIS blessings through the works of our hands. So get to work!
Put your heart and head into your work. That is, while you are passionate about what you do, you are also creative and innovative in how you do it.

Your work is your portrait and signature

When God gives you a promise, He expects that you fully engage your 3-Hs in corporation with HIM: your heart MUST believe, your head MUST agree and your hands MUST labour.
If you know these things, blessed are you when you do them.


Thursday, 1 April 2010

In Pursuit of Excellence- 1

May i seize this opportunity to say Happy Easter to ya all. It is your season of resurrection! If the depth of the grave or the size of the stone or even the fierceness of the soldiers couldn't stop the King of Glory from rising from the dead, then nothing can stop your rising in Jesus Name! Jesus rose after three days and Easter comes up in April after three months and on the fourth day after three days in the month of April. This is symbolic! I have never thought of it on this manner until Monday this week while leading prayers somewhere. I declared unto them that we have moved into the season of resurrection and without premeditation, my eyes were opened to these facts and I immediately expounded it unto them. Whatever has been dead in our lives shall live again by the resurrection power of God in Jesus name! Lets get to the main dish for today: In Pursuit of Excellence.

Why is it that so many desire excellence in whatever they do but only a few actually attain it. Excellence is what stands a man out from the crowd and puts him high on the pecking order. Others many scramble for recognition, or opportunities but excellence commands it. Excellence recommends. No matter your location, when the spirit of excellence is at work in your life, you will be recommended. Joseph was recommended before Pharaoh and when the king heard him, he exclaimed "can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom the Spirit of God is?". What about Daniel, a man in whom the Bible says an excellent spirit resides? He was found ten times better than his peers. By excellence, he was recommended before kings in his days. Who doesn't want to be distinguished?
If you desire excellence, then your entire being-heart, head and hands- must be involved in its pursuit. Excellence does not come by accident neither does it respond to mere wishes. Until your 3H (heart, head and hands) are in it, excellence may remain a mirage. I call it the 3-H factor in pursuit of excellence. Any thing short of it will not and can not deliver excellence. Have you looked at this scripture in Luke 10:27: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind;" closely? A close look at it speaks of these factors which we will see in details. To the above verse, Jesus added in verse28, "...this do and thou shalt live". The same holds true in pursuit of excellence: our heart, (spirit and soul), and head (mind) and strength (hands) must be in it. Excellence comes with a price and one of the greatest price you will have to pay is the ability to put your whole heart, head and hands in your chosen field of interest. Nobody has ever excelled without a good combination of his/her 3-H. No matter how much you try to drag God into it by prayers, and positive confessions, excellence is not in sight until these factors are fully at work. Remember, "a threefold cord is not easily broken", Ecclesiastes tells us.

We already know what these Hs are but lets look at them in details and how they come to play in our pursuit of excellence.

Until your 3-H (heart, head and hands) are in it, excellence will remain a mirage

1) Heart
The heart speaks of your spirit and soul and it encompasses our emotions- love, faith, desire, hope, zeal, enthusiasm etc. There are others but I have carefully selected these ones for the purpose of this discus and may use some of them interchangeably. I call them emotions but they are, in reality, forces. No man has ever excelled in any venture for which he is not passionate or zealous about. It is not enough having vision beacuse vision without desire will evaporate with time. R.W. Emerson once said, "nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm". Every great man is an addict! They always have their hearts in something for which they are willing to give up anything for. Do you have a heart for what you do? Some of us go about our business and work as though we forgot our hearts at home- no zeal, no passion, no enthusiasm, no drive. A lot of folks fail because they give up and many of them give up because they lack passion. If you are in a business you don't truly love, a business you are not passionate or zealous about, you will only be existing and not living. There are potentials and abilities in us that may never be discovered or expressed while in such ventures. Everything bows to passion. A story was told of a keyboardist whose instructor once told him to forget it, that he doesn't have the right sized fingers to really master the keys. Hmm! It was like telling a man that God didn't intend him to be a keyboardist. Yea! he may not have the right sized fingers but he had passion in excess. He ignored that "professional" counsel and went on to become a renowned keyboardist. That is the power of passion. Another story was told of a lady who enrolled for music class but was advised by her instructor to go and buy a sewing machine instead and pursue a career in fashion designing because she was never going to make a good singer. She thanked him but ignored his advise and went to become a celebrated singer. They prevailed because they were sold out and their consuming passion paid off. Even seeming disabilities have a way of bowing to the demands of passion. When you hear of ability in disability, it is often the stories of those whose passion and desire wouldn't let go. Passion makes your pursuit of excellence a pleasure. Without it, the journey is bound to get boring and frustrating when the going gets tough.
No man has ever stumbled on excellence by accident. No man attains excellence without first a desire for it backed with a passionate pursuit. The first step is knowing what constitutes excellence in your chosen field or career and giving yourself wholely in its pursuit. Do you know what constitutes excellence in your chosen field? Take a moment to ask yourself that question and try to find answers to it.

Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm-- Ralph Emerson

To be continued!