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Andy Crouch, from an interview with World Magazine:

Pursuing being elite is a terrible idea. I partly say this because I worked at Harvard for 10 years, and most people who pursue being elite end up being shaped solely by that: They become nothing but elite. I’d much rather have everyone, whatever their prospects for being elite or not, pursue excellence. Excellence is often accompanied by humility, whereas being elite often is not. People who have obtained mastery of certain fields, I’ve found, are surprisingly humble, because they’ve become aware of how difficult their work is.

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4 thoughts on “Pursuing Excellence vs. Pursuing Elite Status”

  1. Jessica says:

    This reminds me of C.S. lewis’ essay, “The Inner Ring,” where he says,”The lust for the esoteric, the longing to be inside, take many forms which are not easily recognisable as Ambition.” You will pursue something with excellence if you really enjoy it and receive satisfaction from the work itself, but not if you are only pursuing the work in order to be on the “inside.” Good thoughts!

  2. Excellence, the pursuit of which is an excellent idea, is a goal ever before us, designed to draw out the utmost effort and frightfully humbling as one finds how unattainable it seems to be. And yet God who is satisfied with nothing less than the best finds reason to commend His child’s faith in but the nanobit of His power. Mt.15:21-28.

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Justin Taylor, PhD

Justin Taylor is executive vice president of book publishing and book publisher for Crossway and blogs at Between Two Worlds. You can follow him on Twitter.

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