Dr. Charles H. Malik, former Secretary General of the United Nations, once shared:
“I respect all men, and it is from disrespect for none that I say there are no great leaders in the world today. In fact, greatness itself is laughed to scorn. You should not be great today—you should sink yourself into the herd, you should not be distinguished from the crowd, you should simply be one of the many. The commanding voice is lacking. The voice which speaks little, but which when it speaks, speaks with compelling moral authority—this kind of voice is not congenial to this age. The age flattens and levels down every distinction into drab uniformity. Respect for the high, the noble, the great, the rare, the specimen that appears once every hundred or every thousand years, is gone. Respect at all is gone! If you ask whom and what people do respect, the answer is literally nobody and nothing. This is simply an unrespecting age—it is the age of utter mediocrity. To become a leader today, even a mediocre leader, is a most uphill struggle. You are constantly and in every way and from every side pulled down. One wonders who of those living today will be remembered a thousand years from now—the way we remember with such profound respect Plato, and Aristotle, and Christ, and Paul, and Augustine, and Aquinas. If you believe in prayer, my friends, and I know you do, then pray that God send great leaders, especially great leaders of the spirit.”
The world needs more great leaders. The world needs leaders who aren’t willing to accept mediocrity, but rather are dedicated to inspiring excellence. The world needs leaders who are willing to set standards of excellence, live by those standards themselves so they might set the example for those they lead, recognize their people’s talents and place them in positions that best utilize those talents so they can continue to grow, praise people for the good they do and hold people accountable for any bad they do, and inspire the people they lead to want to become great leaders themselves.
We need leaders who refuse to settle for mediocrity, as it is the truly great leaders who refuse to settle for less than excellence. And it is these great leaders who are able to recognize the genius that exists in others and motivate them to use that genius for the greater good. In the words of Arthur Conan Doyle, “Mediocrity knows nothing higher than itself, but talent instantly recognizes genius.”
We as individuals, whether we are in positions of leadership or not, are all faced with the choice to be mediocre or strive for excellence in our lives. And there is no better way to motivate yourself to achieve excellence than to do even one thing excellently because:
“One you have experienced excellence, you will never again be content with mediocrity.” – Thomas S. Monson
Have a beautiful day everyone!
~Amy Rees Anderson