#AToZChallengeJamaica: “E” is for Excellence, Which We All Strive For


Oh, how Jamaicans love this word! To be excellent is to be better than the best. We all strive for it with all our might. Or we are supposed to, anyway.

We have schools, health care centers, even churches of excellence, but the word most often applies to individuals. We give out many awards for excellence, as if there is some yardstick or measure.

The Order of National Hero. Of course you won't see anyone wearing it, since they are all deceased.
The Order of National Hero. Of course you won’t see anyone wearing it, since they are all deceased.

Who could be more excellent than our National Heroes? They are called “The Rt Excellent.” The motto of the Order is “He built a city which hath foundations.” (Not “she” – but Nanny..?)

Did you know there is an Order of Excellence, conferred on foreign heads of state? Only two have received it: former South African President Thabo Mbeki (2003) and King Juan Carlos of Spain (2009). Personally, I would have preferred Nelson Mandela and Barack Obama; but I guess it’s too late now.

What makes a person “excellent,” really? Here’s the famous quote by dear old Aristotle – which, while absolutely true, does makes excellence sound rather dull. Yet, perhaps it’s a habit more of us should acquire.

“Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”


9 thoughts on “#AToZChallengeJamaica: “E” is for Excellence, Which We All Strive For

  1. If you dont mind me asking, why would you consider Barack Obama someone worthy to recieve an order of excellence award from Jamaica? I doubt a visit at the benediction of his ten year term in office is qualification enough for us to give him such recognition.

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    1. Benediction? I did not mean because he visited Jamaica – I know the two who received the award did visit here and obviously they must receive the award in person. I don’t quite understand your reasoning, but personally as the first black President of the U.S. he inspired many black people around the world, including many Jamaicans. He is a political figure of considerable stature and both he and Nelson Mandela, who also visited, would have been far more worthy. I am not sure what the Spanish king’s achievements were (a nod to our colonial past?) nor Mandela’s successor Mr. Mbeki, who was not particularly impressive.

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    1. They both visited Jamaica, too… I am surprised Mr. Mandela did not receive one. We went to the National Stadium to see him! Frankly I don’t think those two are particularly worthy but perhaps I am missing something.

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