Tag Archive for: Excellence

Consider the background

Group photos are always one of those things that always happen at mission leaders’ seminars.
Getting together for the group photo can be an exciting moment for everyone in it.
Yet, taking the seminar photo brings its own challenges.
The more people in the photo, the more complicated the process can get.

The Location

I’m guessing at some point there was some consideration, of the composition, the background, the location, the posing, the lighting, the focus and the timing.
Getting everyone together to create a group photo, helps strengthen the group bond and preserve special memories.
For years to come, it can also serve as a helpful keepsake to inspire everyone to work together towards a collective goal.
“…Remember our day in Ephesus together…?”

The Background

The chosen background was the Library of Celsus.
Completed in 117 AD, it was built to honour the city’s former Governor and Roman Senator Celsus, to store 12,000 scrolls and to serve as his tomb.
Having a background that is relevant can be appealing and interesting.
The library was located in the very heart of the city.
Libraries are an important part of every civilization, ancient and modern as places of learning, literacy and education.
It was certainly one of the most striking buildings in the old city, an architectural marvel every tourist on our visit wanted a picture in front of.

Look closer

Reflecting upon the photograph and our experience that day and of our week together, I considered the four female statues (in the background) on the lower floor of the exterior of the library.
Was it by chance that we took the picture there or by divine design?
They are personifications of virtues:
Sophia – 𝒘𝒊𝒔𝒅𝒐𝒎
Episteme – 𝒌𝒏𝒐𝒘𝒍𝒆𝒅𝒈𝒆
Ennoia – 𝒊𝒏𝒕𝒆𝒍𝒍𝒊𝒈𝒆𝒏𝒄𝒆
Arete – 𝒆𝒙𝒄𝒆𝒍𝒍𝒆𝒏𝒄𝒆
My hope, is that all of us who visited that day and the millions who will visit in the future, will continue to immerse ourselves with the ancient virtues of wisdom, knowledge, intelligence and excellence, which are as relevant today as they were 2000 years ago.

The Pursuit of Excellence

“And what are you going to do now?” asked President Goodman, my Mission President.
It was the summer of 1985, and I had just completed my full time mission for the church in London. In our departure interview he gave me a little booklet entitled “The Pursuit of Excellence.”
The introduction was as follows; “The Pursuit of Excellence is an achievement challenge designed to help a participant develop a Christlike life of love and service. Accomplishing this objective requires a diligent and serious effort in fundamental aspects of a truly Christian life—spiritual, intellectual, social, physical, and in service and character.”
And so my own quest in the “pursuit of excellence” commenced.
It was a voluntary initiative, there was no award or completion certificate, it simply encouraged you to set stretching goals….. and I did. Frequently!
In fact, many years later, Monic set up a similar successful programme for the Relief Society in Dunfermline, based on the same little book.

What is excellence?

Excellence is a curiously powerful word. It implies the highest standards and great devotion to something.
In the New Testament, Paul encouraged the Philippians (4:8-9) to pursue excellence and to practice the things that had been taught to them.
He wrote; “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any 𝐞𝐱𝐜𝐞𝐥𝐥𝐞𝐧𝐜𝐞, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”
Oftentimes too many of us settle for less than what we can actually become. Many choose to live far below the privileges and possibilities of their own lives.
It requires effort! But we need more excellence in our thoughts, in our motivations, in our faith, in our actions, in our drive and in our determination to live life at its best.
Excellence awakens ambition, emboldens enlightenment and inspires a journey of self-discovery.
Are your goals and ambitions in life aimed at below your very best?
Or are they simply mediocre?
Are you willing to practice excellence?
Choose to live up to the level of your possibilities – today!