OBSERVATION: Have we allowed the pursuit of adequacy to replace the ethic of excellence?

What We Need to Teach Kids and Teachers: “Any job worth doing is worth doing well. And any job done well is worth doing.” – Michael Josephson

The Common Core and Partnership for the 21st Century tell educators that their main job is to prepare students to succeed in college and the workplace.There are lots of qualities involved in such an ambitious agenda, but one of the most important and neglected is the simple notion of pursuit of excellence – the duty to do one’s absolute best, all the time in everything.

I think we need to teach students (and, for that matter, lots of teachers) that everything they do contributes to their reputation – what others say and think about them and that ultimately their reputation is their resume.

Successful people know that the most reliable and rapid way up the ladder of success is performance – consistent, excellent performance. Recommendations and resumes can help, but in the end, what matters is what the people who observe you think and say about you. 

The message: Always, always do your best assuming that someone very important is watching. Perform every task as if it were an audition for the best job you can imagine. Your reputation is your best resume and you are more likely to be judged by your weakest performance than your best.

 How strong is the excellence ethic in your school or workplace?

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