Humans are capable of amazing feats under pressure. A mother can lift a car with one hand to save her child. A man can jump across a wide ravine to escape a pack of wolves. A child will climb up a sheer wall with no hand or footholds to avoid a snake bite.
People are resilient and resourceful when the heat is on.
But why must we always wait until there’s pressure before we put up our best? If we are capable, why don’t we show our capability every time? Why wait until our backs are against the wall before we reveal our brilliance?
When we’re about to have visitors, we clean up our homes. Why not keep them clean all the time? When exams are near, we stay up all night and try to memorise loads of material. Why not just study everyday so there’s no need to cram at the end?
When some new girl starts paying your husband compliments, you suddenly invest in Brazilian hair, Chinese nails, Italian perfume and French underwear, but where were all these United Nations beauty secrets when you thought nobody noticed your man?
We are capable of so much, yet we hold back our best until we are forced to give it. Are we not living life backwards when we do that? You live in a house for years without painting it, tolerating and ignoring the little faults around the place, and then when you’re ready to sell it, you spend a fortune sprucing it and painting it for someone else to enjoy. Why hold back your best until you are forced to give it?
(My Mum will probably kill me for telling this story, but I think many of you might relate, so let me brave it). My mother always had suitcases full of clothes she had never worn and fabric she had never sewn.
Literally, wardrobes full of these suitcases, packed with stuff she was saving for a “special occasion”. But on special occasions, I would watch her running around complaining, “I have nothing to wear, what am I going to wear…”.
Do you know why? Because the stuff she had been hoarding for years were all out of fashion. She had held on to her best until her best was no longer good enough. Thank God I didn’t inherit that hoarding gene from her. Me? If I buy the shirt on Monday, I’m wearing it on Tuesday. Ah. Na why else did I buy it?
You see, the pursuit of excellence requires us to be the best versions of ourselves every single day. Not only when someone is watching, not only when there’s a reward, not only when there’s competition, not only when there’s a deadline, not only in an emergency, but every single hour of every single day. What’s the point of holding some back? Who are you holding it back for?
I remember the last time Ghana made it to the world cup. Coach Kwesi Appiah was in charge of the national team, and he was heavily criticised after Ghana lost to the USA. This was the only game Ghana had been certain of winning in our “Group of Death”, but we ended up losing with a team that did not include Ghana’s most experienced player, Michael Essien.
The coach was reported to have been “keeping him on ice” for the tougher games against Germany and Portugal. Pundits were confused by this strategy. Why would you hold back on today’s performance in order to guarantee tomorrow’s? This was the World Cup! You go hard or you go home.
My friends, every day, you should put on your best clothes, give out your best ideas, put in your best work and have the best time doing it. Don’t cheat yourself out of success by bringing anything less than your absolute A-Game every day, starting with today.
My name is Kojo Yankson, and today, I will work harder than I’ve ever done before. Until tomorrow, when I’ll be breaking today’s record.
GOOD MORNING, GHANAFO!
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