Pursuit of Excellence for Future Leadership

Delivered by Reverend Akua Ofori-Boateng at the 73rd Anniversary Speech and Price Giving Day of St. Monica’s Senior High School.

Our first introduction to the concept of excellence is when we’re students and we get 10 out 10 on a test, and the teacher writes the word excellent in our notebook.

It is a very good feeling but unfortunately it gives us the impression that excellence is a destination and to be excellent is to achieve perfection. 

But that is not so…excellence is a journey, and perfection belongs to God alone.

The people who achieve excellence in life are not those who get it right every single time…or who give up when they fail.  The people who achieve excellence in life are those who have developed the mindset that achieving excellence is a journey…a journey of successes and failures, but also a journey of constant learning and growing. 

These people like Kofi Annan, Abedi Pele, and Wole Soyinka as you can see come from varying fields of life.  Kofi Annan was a global statesman, Abedi Pele is a footballer, and Wole Soyinka is an author…but each of them applied some of the same basic principles to their lives in order to achieve excellence and this morning I will share three of them with you.

The first is that you should be love what you do…and do what you love.  When you do what you love, it doesn’t feel like work. Because you derive pleasure from it.  If you like to write…you’ll be happy writing whether you’re being paid or not.  But we cannot love or be passionate about everything.  We also can’t love what our friends love simply because we like them.  We must find ourselves and identify for ourselves what we love to do…what makes us happy.  And this leads me to my second point which is to identify your talents.

Each of us has a natural gift deposited in us.  How many of us are left hand?  Did anyone ask you to be left handed? No…it is a gift from God.  If you are left handed, you can certainly use your right hand but it is not as comfortable as using your left.  Likewise the reverse is true. If you’re right handed. 

To be left-handed and choose to use your right hand…would be like my colleague Veronica Commey who is an outstanding sports-journalist deciding as a young girl to study Oil and Gas Management because that is the latest trend.  Had she done that, she would have missed her true talent and probably never become the excellent woman she is today.

And now for my final point.  And it is this…we must Read.  There’s an unfortunate adage which says that if you want to hide something from an African put it in a  book.  Books allow us to upgrade our knowledge.  Now I accept that sometimes we don’t have the time to read…but today with the advent of the internet, there are so many documentaries on YouTube, and TED Talks that can broaden your horizons. 

Many of us make the mistake of thinking that the acquisition of knowledge ends when school ends.  But I am pleading with you this morning that you should never become complacent with your existing knowledge.  Keep reading, keep searching the world wide web for the latest knowledge from multiple perspectives. This will give you diversified knowledge, information, and ideas that you can use to grow and stay ahead of the crowd

Today, leadership is about excellence.  It is only when you’re excellent that you can beat their competition and stay ahead of others.  And for you as young people, in the absence of work experience, the only thing that distinguishes you from the rest of the competition is the excellence you display while you’re in school today.

For those of you graduating, I bid you Ayekoo for yourexcellent accomplishment. And for the rest of you following in their footsteps, I wish you success and excellence!

Thank you for your attention and God bless you

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