Suppose a man, A, is driving his brand-new car on the fast lane when, from far behind him, an older ordinarily slower car begins to gain on him. This second driver, B, discourteously tries to get driver A to make way for him to overtake. Driver A instead increases his speed; still driver B does not let up. Suppose it becomes an ego matter for both of them and both see a Road-Under-Repair sign too late and get involved in a fatal accident. It would be really sad, wouldn’t it?
The above is a picture, a parable, of what happens at an alarming rate daily in millions of homes, offices and elsewhere worldwide.
It is not always roads and cars and accidents but the result is more or less the same: calamity and tragedy when people take their eyes off the roads they’re on, off their individual journeys and focus on ‘beating the competition’. Why is this so? To beat the competition you have to start thinking in terms of the competition; to think in terms of the competition you have to stop thinking in terms of what you are doing. Once people do that, accidents are never very far away.
Millions of people seeking, learning and propagating what we may call the doctrine of excellence are not aware that the contemporary craze for excellence has a very soft underbelly; it has feet of very soft clay.
Why? Excellence is nothing other than superlative competitiveness. And out-heroding Herod is not how people get to be Caesar. Why be the first to go where nobody in their right senses would choose to go?
What is the way out? If the ship of competition is always a wreck in the making, what must be done? First, backtrack. Why compete when you can thrive? Why seek to excel when you can be feracious? Reprioritize. Henceforth you labour to thrive, not compete; you compete only when and insofar as that is the way to thrive. Henceforth you seek to be feracious, not excellent; you pursue excellence when feraciousness prescribes it.
What is this feraciousness? It is superlative thrivefulness. It is to thrivefulness what excellence is to competition. It is from the latin ferre, meaning to bear, carry. In this context feracious means bearing forth superlatively, fully.
Are you a carpenter? Be a carpenter such that your carpentry leaves nothing to be added. Are you a CEO? Seek to discharge fully the obligations of CEOship. Thrive, be feracious!
You will find that when you are thriving and feracious, others will begin to look at you as the competition.
If their headlights are flashing, and their horns are blaring from behind you, keep the prescriptions of good driving, shift aside and let them fly past, exceeding it. You may soon pass their wreckage up ahead.
You, keep your eyes on the road.
Ava Asa Ava is a Port Harcourt-based Human Resource Facilitatorr and may be reached at: facebook.com/ava.asa.ava