Sunday, January 27, 2013

An Obligation to Pursue Excellence

"Folklorist Garrison Keillor's description of Lake Wobegon invariably got a laugh.  "It's a place," he said, "where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average."
The last statement is the key to the laughter.  The audience knew then than Lake Wobegon did not exist, because our common sense tells us there is no place on earth where all the children are above average.
Humor, however, always has two faces.  It tells us truth that is not logical, truth that comes from deeper sources than the evidence of our five senses.  Life is not a matter of statistics: Our final report card will not give us our class ranking.  The fact of the matter, the hidden truth, is that everyone can be above average. 
Becoming above average is not all that difficult.  To put it bluntly, the average person has settled for less, has accepted mediocrity- and has the status to prove it. 
The real goal in life?  To be above average- to be normal, which really means being the best you can be.  Being average is living in the past; being normal is striving in the present. 
Normalcy has little to do with being witty and wealthy and good-looking.  Those are qualities dictated by chance and circumstance.  Being normal is chiefly a matter of making the most out of what you were born with, and it follows from acknowledging an obligation to pursue excellence.  But it's important to note that the pursuit alone counts just as much as the achievement- and possibly more."
-  George Sheehan, M.S., Personal Best, 1989, p. 29

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