Excellence: Not a mirage, but a pursuit
Feature Articles

Excellence: Not a mirage, but a pursuit

April 1, 2024

By Dr. K.B. Chinnappa, Retired Professor of Physical Education, Bangalore University

Quality of man’s life is in direct proportion with his commitment for excellence, regardless of his chosen field of endeavour, said Lombardi, a Socialist.

Today’s world is on a fast track. Every success has to better the previous one. One should not think, ‘I thought I knew all the answers until I realised that someone was playing with the questions.’

Competition is all pervasive and complexity is the order of the day. Change is a constant happening and updating is the need of the second. Demand by the people has sky-rocketed and mediocrity is not accepted by anyone. In every field, excellence is the benchmark. Then a doubt arises on what is excellence?

Excellence is doing one’s duty outstandingly plus more. This extra more gives an extra edge to the doing that is required to excel. There is no ready-made prescription available to inject excellence. Excellence auto happens when one stretches oneself an extra mile.

To attain excellence be communicative. It is a big deal. Effective communication in whatever form, could be defined as, ‘Intended meaning to comprehend what is truly expressed.’ To make it clearer, others must ‘see’ what one ‘says,’ may be oral, written or non-verbal. One has to mean what one says and also say what one means. Contradictions, if any, may lead to conflicts which may hinder in attaining excellence.

Be co-operative

In today’s fast moving and inter-dependant world, know each other, talk and exchange views with each other and try to understand each other. These will make an excellent team.

‘Unity is strength,’ ‘Team work has no equal,’ ‘United we stand’ — all these universal truths have made Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully launch the space rocket and very successfully and precisely land gently the lander on the surface of the moon.

Be competent: Unless one does something beyond than what one has mastered the skill to do, he will not grow beyond to excel. Consistent performance and continuous improvement are the only ways to stay in this dog eat dog world. Progress is the hallmark. Be a good player and try to become a skilful innovative player to excel.

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Compare not with the self, instead compete with the self and also with the standard set. Take stock, but do not look back. If you slow a little someone will overtake. Take chances as challenges to improve to excel. Sergey Nazarovych Bubka, then a Soviet Union Pole Vaulter, had no challengers who have cleared 20 feet 1 ½ inches in Olympics, so he challenged himself 35 times to etch his name in the Hall of Fame.

Be creative

To develop creativity set a target and honestly try to achieve the target within the set time. John. F. Kennedy, the then the President of USA, had set a target of 10 years to reach the moon and he did achieve the target within the time set.

Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India, has set a target of 12 years for India to host the 2036 Summer Olympics in India. By looking at the planning and the preparations Indians feel that the target would be achieved within the time set.

Creativity is not the generation of new ideas alone, but the effect of perseverance to see the idea blossoms to reality. Creativity is not a one time game, but it is a continuous craving within to be consistently creative. Do not ponder as to why things cannot be done, think of all the possibilities and the creativity happen as a routine.

Be customer-relevant

Anybody related to or deals with another is a customer. While dealing, customer satisfaction is not just enough, instead customer attraction after the customer delight is more important to thrive in whatever business one is doing. There can be no friendship without confidence and no confidence without integrity. Compassion, character and commitment also contribute to raise the quality of integrity.

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Student community, especially must realise their potential, inner urge and power. Persistence and perseverance they should have along with knowledge-hunger. Students must realise that when ‘better’ is better than good, then improvement over better is possible. If a student is techno-comfort then he will be with flaming enthusiasm backed by horse sense. Only the thrusting mind will find the way to progress. The clarion call of Swami Vivekananda should spur them to progress (Awake, arise and stop not till the goal is reached).

In this direction it is usually said that if the two eyes are afraid and doubt how to complete the volume of work (study) then the two hands are ready and they just start the work and the body admires how the hands did the work. This is made possible by scrupulously following three ‘R’s:

Receive with attention and concentration what is taught in the class, clearing all the doubts then and there. Then try to retain them in the mind according to the universal truth.

‘Repetition helps retention’ and ‘practice maketh perfect’ by doing homework, participating  in group discussion, doing projects, doing practicals in the laboratories and also by studying the related literature in the library. In this way, what is learnt in the class  will be consolidated in the mind. Then the students will be eager to Recall all the matter stored at the time of test or examination as the mind is super-saturated with knowledge and the examination will be a pleasurable pastime for them and they write the examination as if they are playing their favourite game (as per Modiji).

The outcome of the result of the examination will definitely be fruitful and enjoyable and cherishable and the students feel that they are on the right path in pursuit of excellence.

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