A STANDING OVATION

Am I the only one who has hairs standing on edge as a classic performer is applauded, or do I have witnesses in the house? When the show is over, do you sit back to cogitate those glory moments and imagine it’s you in the picture, and your family smiling proudly? Usually, they leave you greatly inspired; and you stop to think what it is that you could be applauded for.

The depths of excellence are amazing. From Albert Einstein to Joseph Pulitzer, Martin Luther King to Alfred Nobel, Chinua Achebe to Bill Gates, Franklin D. Roosevelt to Mary-Kay Ash, Elizabeth Blackwell to David Ben-Gurion. The list is indeed inexhaustible.

I’m surrounded by an incredible number of people who believe they possess something the world needs, probably a spark to ignite a fire or fuel to fan the flames. The throngs of competition are indeed asphyxiating. Herbert Spencer was right- It’s survival of the fittest. You either have something, not just worthwhile but ingenious, or else… join the line. And so incredulously, people (young and elderly) hold on to dreams while waiting for the morning.

The outpour of self-discovery includes what to do to stand out? Fresh graduates are considering entrepreneurship, and young ladies are caught in the web between marriage and career… It’s seems a double-sided coin- be successful and single OR be married and settle for less.

As a seven-year-old, I read a compilation of stories of great inventors, and charged with a passion to be likewise great, began racking my young mind for the name of my invention!!!

When about two years later I learnt that there had never been a black ‘Miss World’, I began nursing the ambition of being the first black ‘Miss World’. Then Agbani Darego had to come along and spoil my plans!

I sat in my part 1 Pharmacy class as Jumoke asked Bodunde what she would like to be known for in the future. “As the world’s best pharmacist,” she replied in her characteristic presumption. I looked on with irritation tinged with jealousy. Now I can’t help not suppressing a grin at the thought.

It doesn’t seem to me that the world has a slot for ‘best’ (I agree with you… best graduating student, and such other bests). But really there are no parameters devised to ascribe such position to anyone. Or how can we compare Galileo Galilei with Isaac Newton, Martin Luther King with Nelson Mandela, or Christiaan Barnard with Ben Carson?

There are very many inspiring success stories, stories of excellence- the kind that command the hairs on your neck to stand at attention and wish you were a part of it. The world at large can’t keep up with all the stories of excellence, that’s why some go unsung. Just like my friend’s dad whose mother single-handedly raised her seven children to become successful medical doctors amidst intense opposition. Within a remarkable sphere, nonetheless, every excellence is celebrated.

Whether you are an inventor at 4, or at 104 years old, a story-teller or a novelist; a pioneer or an innovator, the sky is large enough for excellence of every form; and everyone has an intrinsic ability to be excellent.

We have this treasure in earthen vessels… (2 Corinthians 4: 7).

What more need be said?
Mount the wings of hope, and BE EXCELLENT.

Chinazar Okoro©2011