A former physical education teacher and prominent entertainer is concerned that Barbadians are only giving half of their best and are no longer striving for excellence.
Delivering a motivational speech to a group of secondary school students here this morning as part of activities marking a week of excellence at the Baobab Towers, Warrens, St Michael, retired Lodge School teacher Mac Fingall strongly urged the students to strive to be the very best, while taking strong issue with what he said was a “a 50 per cent mentality” pervading the country.
“Quit doing less than excellent work,” he told the gathering, which included students of Alleyne, Foundation, Lester Vaughan, Graydon Sealy and the Government Industrial Schools.
Fingall bitterly complained that even though the road to excellence was a pretty straight forward one, “we possess a 50 per cent mentality” in Barbados.
However, he strongly cautioned that “50 per cent can never be a pass”.
“Fifty per cent means you do not know 50 per cent of the work. [So] you can’t settle for 50 per cent and be ok. You have to master the subject, get at least 75 per cent,” the educator said, while stressing the need for the students to raise the bar and rise above mediocrity.
“You are supposed to be vex when you don’t achieve excellence. When you don’t get vex, it tells me you are ok with mediocrity,” he stressed.
However, while quoting the Greek philosopher Aristotle as saying “we are repeatedly what we do”, Fingall warned that excellence “is not an act, but a habit.
“You have to be in the habit of doing excellent things.
“Excellence is not an exception, it is a prevailing attitude,” he said.
And while acknowledging that excellence was a scary word for some people, he was adamant that it was there for everyone to have.
“[Former chairman and CEO of IBM] Thomas J Watson said if you want to achieve excellence you can get there today,” Fingall noted.
“[Therefore] you can achieve anything you want to achieve. It is not how you get there, it is that you get there,” he said, while urging the students to “make an impression. Do something with your life! You have to make a contribution in some way. You should not just live and [die], and that is it. Do something and make a difference!”
“All of you can make a difference to the world,” he insisted, while telling the students they were as good as anyone else in the world.