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Excellence - the best deterrent to racism and sexism

Image credit: Centric

THERE ARE many of us who have been overlooked for opportunities, merely because of the colour of our skin or gender. It’s painful to know that because of something you are born with and didn’t choose to be, you miss out on some things in life.

Growing-up, I was often told that I had to work twice as hard, being a black girl. This always made me very angry.
Sure the people who told me this meant well, they wanted the best for me. Why was I not good enough to be considered as an equal among the rest of my peers/classmates?

When we hear such things, it often demoralises us and you sort of think, 'What’s the point of even trying if no one is going to notice your efforts?'.

One thing I have discovered over the years, with much glee, is that excellence cannot be ignored - it doesn’t matter who it’s coming from. When I heard Oprah say, “I was raised to believe that excellence is the best deterrent to racism or sexism. And that’s how I operate my life”, her statement confirmed it even further for me. So, I went out to work
on being excellent and here is what I found out:

Don’t delay it

You don’t start off being excellent. You work on your craft every day and you develop it time and time again. You start with what you have and you learn and grow constantly and you don’t stop. Excellence comes with practice. Don’t be afraid and don’t hold back. You will never know what you are capable of until you make a start. Start where you are with what you have and begin to become excellent.

Don’t compromise

You want excellence and you want to be the best at what you do. You want to be so excellent that no one can ignore you. So, therefore demand the best from yourself and others. Don’t settle for anything less. Make sure you are working with people of quality, even if they are beginners in their field and you are producing the best quality of work you possibly can, even with minimal resources. Don’t accept excuses especially from yourself and don’t lower your standards. Excellence is what we are going for, nothing less.

Be consistent

One hit of success does not equal excellence. That one hit could be a struck of luck. You have to keep it coming with something better than the last. Being excellent will only elevate you and as you go higher and higher, you have to be sure that you keep delivering that excellent quality of work. You don’t want to turn out to be a fluke who was just lucky. Author, Malcolm Gladwell, mentions in his book Outliers: The Story of Success, that excellence is attributed to, to a large extent, a matter of practising for at least 10,000 hours, but don’t just stop at 10,000!


If you truly believe in what you are doing, you will not hesitate to spend money and time on it. Invest time in learning and developing new skills that can improve your work. Spend money on the things you need to produce the excellent quality you are pursuing. If you invest your time and money wisely, when you reach the peak of excellence you will see your return.

Be authentic

It is much easier to produce quality work and be excellent when you are yourself rather than when you trying to be someone else. You are the only person who really knows how to be you. We are all different and different things work for different people. Take time to develop the person that you are and the person you want to become so that you can give the world the best version of you. Some people are on top and make it look like excellence when they are just there because of who they know or they just happened to hit the jackpot with a trend. Originality lasts longer and brings excellence, which has durability.

When you are excellent, it will be hard for the world to ignore you. People are drawn to something good. We all crave to be a part of it. Excellence never stops, I am still working on being more excellent than I was yesterday and the day before.

Noreen Chada is the editor and founder of self-published Demur Magazine.

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