It is a fair question to ask, “So, when do we stop discussing and start doing.” Well, there are two parts to the answer. Both require personal action but each is necessary and important in its own regard.
1. Become a personal example of the pursuit of excellence in everything you do on a day to day basis.
It is always easy to look outside of ourselves and see what is wrong with the world. Closer to home it is quite easy and convenient to look at our cities and region and complain and level fault at the “wicked them”, whoever they may be, for what “they” are not doing. My observations might be spot on regarding the particular area of my complaint but the question that must first be answered is whether or not my personal level of achievement and excellence has earned me the right to complain and throw others under the bus for the job they are doing?
In his recent book, “12 Rules for Life” Jordan Peterson challenges the reader to get his own house in order before demanding everyone else get their house in order. This is exactly what we must do if we are going to elevate a region to a place of excellence in all things above the ground. Every business endeavor and personal pursuit must be met by an aggressive personal pursuit of virtue and excellence so that we are more than voices of dissent.
We must become lives of example that can see issues, roll up our sleeves and pursue a standard and goal of excellence.
You have to know what excellence demands before demanding it in others. This is no way means we have to be perfect, but it does mean the right to complain and render judgment carries with it the responsibility to lead by example and earn the right to be heard. Which leads me to the second thing we must do.
2. Be ready and willing to volunteer and serve in the sphere of the very things we demand change.
It’s one thing to say public education is terrible but it’s quite another thing to volunteer and ask how you can help on the path to excellence in public education. It’s one thing to complain about city and county governance and quite another thing to go to meetings, hear what is happening and be part of the solution. You see, part of living in a democratic republic is that you and I have the responsibility to be the change and make the change and not just complain about the lack of change. This all begs the question,
“What problem bothers you so much you choose to stop leveling blame and you push in, volunteer and begin the hard work of being part of the solution?”
Several years ago my son decided to be a part-time umpire for little league baseball. After that short season of work, I never heard him complain about umpires again. Maybe it’s time many of us stop yelling at the “umpires” among us and start volunteering to get behind the plate and get in the game. It takes no effort to have an opinion and level an accusation; it takes heart – and dare I say, love – to roll up sleeves, work among those we might even disagree with, and press for excellence in all sectors of life.