I can’t remember when it all began. But I am a different person now. I have grown. Fair enough to say, I have matured.
A year ago, I began my quest for excellence which stirred up this innate desire of continually growing and learning — never becoming content of what I already know or what I already am.
Don’t get me wrong on this. Just like Paul, ” I have learned to be content in whatever circumstance I am in” (Philippians 4:11). But this does not mean staying there forever. The Bible also says in 2 Peter to add grace after grace. We must continually climb up the ladder of progress, being content each step of the way but never satisfied.
For this reason, I’d like to use the word satisfied in place of content. Because I have learned to be content in whatever circumstance I am in but I am never satisfied until I have reached the highest step of the ladder of excellence and have become the best person that I can be — that God wants me to be.
This year on my birthday, I have realized that excellence has two aspects: (1) personal excellence, that which refers to my personal growth and learning and (2) influential excellence, that which refers to how my personal excellence impacts those people around me.
I have been working on the first aspect of excellence since when I turned 18 and am still working on it because I believe that it is a lifetime quest — I can only grow and grow but I can never reach the fullest part of it.
As a resolution for my 22nd birthday, I would like to switch the spotlight on the second aspect of excellence which I believe is a result of my mini successes on the first aspect.
So… I have decided to start advocating on the following (because I believe that even the littlest actions can the make the greatest impact):
- Cleaning up before leaving the coffee shop. Growing up in the Philippines, I have become accustomed to leaving everything to the waiter or the waitress after dining in a fast food or a restaurant. Since I spend most of my medschool life studying out, I’d like to begin making change in that coffee shop table where I pour my mind and heart out in studying. It won’t cost me anything throwing a piece of tissue, a stirrer and a disposable cup before leaving.
- Less plastic. I swear I am one of the hard-headed human beings making our mother earth’s condition worst and worst. I use lots of plastic everyday! So I have decided taking small steps daily to help the environment. This includes: (1) bringing a reusable water bottle daily instead of buying bottled water, (2) not using straw or at least, eliminating their use if possible, (3) using ecobags when doing groceries or buying stuffs, (4) bringing my own bottle on coffee shops instead of using their disposable cups — plus I get 10% discount on Starbucks, (5) reusing plastic and as much as possible, not throwing them right away.
- Less paper. Although papers are biodegradable, excessive use of them also costs billions of trees and hundreds of forests plus the wildlife that inhabit them. I know this advocacy will be difficult especially that I am studying and I print a lot of stuffs. But I am always one choice away from printing that handout or just reading it on my iPad.
- Always SMILE to people especially to guards-on-duty, baristas, waiters or waitresses, cashiers, etc. Smile, even when they do not smile back. They might be having a more difficult day than I do.
These are only four simple acts which if done whole-heartedly can make great impact. I am beginning with only four. But I believe that by doing these, somewhere along the way, more simple-acts-for-great-change will reveal itself to me.
I am already 22. That’s like already a quarter of the average human lifespan. I pass through this only once so I’d like to make the most out of it. I’d like my life to be part of the solution and not the problem.
After all, we aim for excellence not for ourselves. But for the benefit of others.
Here’s to more growing! More learning!
22 is for making a change!
Soli deo Gloria.