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7 Ways To Live A Life Of Distinction ~ Pastor Matthew Ashimolowo

A life of distinction is gradually becoming a lost art in our world today. This particular lifestyle of a commitment to being the best ...


A life of distinction is gradually becoming a lost art in our world today. This particular lifestyle of a commitment to being the best does not show up by a mere wish but an actual pursuit. Genuine distinction comes only to those who have worked hard to achieve it. Distinction is a science, in the sense that it can be imitated and systematically reproduced; however it is also an art because it takes a lot of grace and patience to produce and perfect it. It will be mastered by all those who choose to pursue it with all of their heart.


The 7 Pillars are actually the Core Values by which we may live our lives in order to be successful in every sphere of life. To assume that we will be truly successful in our future without the pursuit of distinction is a mere wish that cannot truly hold water. However, distinction can be secured if you choose to establish certain values in our lives. In the words of Albert Einstein, “Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.” To try to be a man of value, according to Einstein, our core values will have to be clearly defined and honoured.


This is true because core values identify who we are, they are the unspoken internal rules that only guide our lives and lead us in the paths towards distinguishing our lives and living in distinction. Core Values are your anti-histamine, your defence system against external corruption of your person. Core Values are the stabilising force that keeps you standing tall during periods and season of conflict. Your core values are your internal signals to remind you of the right and the wrong choices of life. Core Values are the compasses that help you to know what direction you may sail so that you can arrive at the purpose of God for you. These Core Values are the 7 great pillars upon which your life must rest in order for it to be said to be a life of distinction. Of course there may be others; however these 7 probably summarise what can lead you in the path of distinction.


1: INTEGRITY

Integrity has to do with what is integral to you. They are inner qualities from the inside that determine what happens outside of you. Credible integrities cannot be over emphasised. It is a rock upon which your life must be built for you to make a success of your future. Kings and kingdoms fail when integrity fails. Leaders have fallen because integrity diminished. Every failure in life; marital, spiritual, governmental, relational, have often been because of the failure of integrity. When we do not have intrinsic values that draw the lines for us, we stand the danger of crossing boundaries and making mistakes.

Close to half a century ago, I went to Army Children School (Mokola Ibadan). There were over 2,000 students, and only one football pitch, but boys would have to play football during the break, which led us to create our own football pitch on the golf course next door.
Most times there were no clearly defined lines. This resulted in arguments. People determined if the ball was in or out, not because there was a line, but according to their own personal choices. When there is no integrity, you begin to redefine morality, commitment etc.
Gregg Anderson said – “A life of integrity is one of greatest missions one can undertake.” If we will succeed or fail in life, integrity will have a lot to do with it. How many have built major enterprises for 10, 20, 30 years and brought it down like a house of cards in 5 minutes because of the absence of integrity?

2 : EXCELLENCE

They said of Daniel that an excellent spirit was found in him:Daniel 6:3 (NKJV) 3 Then this Daniel distinguished himself above the governors and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king gave thought to setting him over the whole realm.

The simplest meaning of excellence is to excel others, in everything you do and others do, including you – in other words – beating your own record. Defining definitions, crossing boundaries that were hitherto drawn, changing the word impossible to possible. These are the marks that begin to lead to the direction of distinction.

Excellence is to aim to achieve the highest level, to do the best at all times, and to be the best. A commitment to doing and being the best is what brings remarkable results as society is failing, because people are settling for average. Those that do not commit to excellence will lower their standard in order to include many friends or associates etc.

A nation that accommodates everyone, particularly on its governing board, because they reflect a federal character, although they do not portray any form of excellence, have already doomed the future of generations to come. Excellence helps us to make a difference as we live a standard higher than others. It helps us to rise to new heights. It helps us to have our own personal transformations before we reach out to get others experience the same. Excellence is the extra mile. Jesus said, if any man asks of you to go a mile with him, go two. That is going beyond the limits.

Excellence is not the attainment of perfection, but the pursuit to achieve the best that can ever be achieved at a particular time in a chosen field. The remarkably gifted Leonardo DaVinci, the painter and scientist – craved excellence so much, that he signed off his life with a statement: “I have offended God and mankind because my work didn’t reach the quality it should have.”


3: CAPABILITY

It is not hard to know those who are capable and those who are not. The environment in which they live, the environment of their work, proves who they are. Every man’s work is a signature.

This pillar called capability actually stands for learning new skills and applying them daily as we move in the direction of distinction. Capable people don’t just hope that somehow, someway and some day, they will develop skills in their vocation that will bring about great change, rather they go out there and acquire the skills.

They take initiative, they learn with passion. When they read, it is with enthusiasm. When they study it is with a sense of hunger.

Capability is reflected in being the best at what you do. Essentially when your breakthrough always follow.
Two great qualities manifest whenever great leaders are around, and these are: • Credibility • Capability.
The irony of most African nations is that in government, the credible are not often capable and the capable are not always credible.
When those two are manifested in a man, such a person will take his nation, organisation, institution further than anyone else.



4: COMMITMENT

Too many people are involved in the organisations/ businesses which they represent, but they are not committed. Take the simple illustration of a breakfast with bacon and egg –For the egg to be part of the breakfast the chicken was involved, it laid the egg. For the bacon to be available, the pig had to die. That is commitment.

So many people today straddle between non-committal or broken commitments. However, there can really be no fruitfulness, nor manifestation of distinction until someone pays the price by total commitment. These are commitment that makes result that begin to follow. In the words of Les Brown, “we need to make a commitment. Once you make it then life gives you some answers.”


5: SELFLESSNESS

This may sound similar to commitment; however, there is a slight difference. Selflessness may mean laying some things on the altar, and some people may never have experienced distinction because their personal ambition has stood between them and excelling in life. We all have petty dreams, visions; however, until we lay them on altar of sacrifice, we may not reach for the greater things that bring about distinction. Selflessness is learning to touch your generation, making a difference in the world in which you live. 

A day’s sacrifice is a choice, one that will require that you can actually walk away from some things in order for you to live a life of distinction. Several years ago, a young university graduate who left America to go serve in the Amazon jungles among the Auca Indians said –“A man is no fool if he gives up what he may not keep, to gain what he cannot lose.” (Jim Elliott) True distinction, is helping others to become great, not just to have personal pursuit of it. That is selflessness. The 17th century preacher Henry Ward Beecher said – “In this world it is not what we take up, but what we give up that makes us rich and approved.”



6: SERVANTHOOD

A treaty on servanthood in the 21st century Nigeria is like swimming against the tides – swimming in the opposite direction of the water currents. Many of us understood servanthood to be who got there first, who has the highest position, the biggest cake, the biggest salary, the loftiest, the best, the smartest. Servanthood makes us not be primarily interested in our own success; however we become successful as we become busy empowering others. 

In the words of Zig Ziglar – “You can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people to get what they want.” What others can give you doesn’t matter as much as what you can give. What they do for you is not as much as what you do for them, for the nations & institutions you serve. In the words of John Fitzerald Kennedy (Former US President) –
“Ask not what your nation can do for you, but ask what you can do for your nation.”


7 : GENEROSITY

This is the last of the pillars we look at for a life that manifest distinction. Life is just not for living, life is also for giving. Generosity basically says – God will do for you what you are willing to do for others. God will give to you what you are willing to give to others. My dear friend, a life of distinction is not rocket science; it is a lifestyle you can pursue and acquire and the best day and time to start is TODAY.

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