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Abolish Mediocrity and Step In to Your Personal Greatness

When I was growing up, almost all Black kids were taught the same principle: “you have to be twice as good to get half as much.”

As an adult, the adage has proven to be quite true for me. Those who float through life on the waves of “mediocrity” are doomed to drift aimlessly while those that ride the waves of “excellence” reach their destinations (listen, I know that there are debates about whether we should strive for “Black Excellence” or not, but I’m defining excellence here as you living up to your own potential—as determined by you).

Follow me.

In my professional career, I teach students who will one day be teachers. Because I do, and because I’m at an HBCU when I do it, I always start my lessons with traditional African educational philosophies of teaching and learning. In my reading of these philosophies, I’ve found a common theme: mastery.

In the traditional African understanding of learning--one does not learn for just the sake of learning or being just good enough. Instead, the pursuit of knowledge is about the unending pursuit of excellence.

Mediocre people don't write novels that endure like Toni Cade Bambara or Toni Morrison. They do not offer songs that soothe our souls like Donnie Hathaway's do. They do not teach in ways that change children's lives like Asa G. Hilliard did, and they do not channel our collective energies as Fred Hampton did.

Black excellence--as we choose to define it--has always been what gives us our best flavor.

BUT..*and that's a pretty big but...

How many of us can honestly say that we're moving with intentional excellence now? How many of us are putting forth maximum effort every day (even if that mean's intentional rest)? How may of us are allowing ourselves to dream our biggest dreams and then working to manifest those visions? How many of us have given ourselves the permission to stand above "just doing enough?"

Don't answer right now. Think about it.

I'm willing to bet that there are not as many of us that can honestly answer in the affirmative anyway. But, that's okay.

I'm pretty sure that once you read this and are reminded that you have the potential for excellence, you'll stop settling for less than that--especially from yourself.

If not, you'll have to fight me about it. Ya hear?

Always true,

Dr. Tip

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