Excellence is an OCD

Sometimes you don’t know where to draw the line between OCD and the strive for excellence. Maybe it doesn’t make any difference or does it?
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is terrible and has made lives of millions a living hell. This is a just a comparison and in no way making light the suffering OCD patients go through every waking minute of their miserable lives.
I was lucky, or unlucky as some of my friends would say, to have started my career at an organization where the passion for excellence was a religion. Looking back, I think I drank more than my fair share of that Kool-Aid because I really can’t see quite a lot of that excellence there anymore. But that’s a story for another day.
Those were days we believed we could do anything and nothing but the best matters. It affected my life; I ended up striving to get things done properly. Let me be truthful, to get some things done correctly. For the rest, I couldn’t give a damn.
I haven’t and may not reach perfection, but I never lost that drive. For a lot of my colleagues and friends, it can be an annoying nervous tick from an over-caffeinated dude struggling with a mid-life crisis. What has the straightness of a table got to do with excellence?
Maybe it has a lot to do with it.
I’ve always been amazed at well-made things – buildings, furniture, accessories, electronics, websites, and even well-written articles. I’ve since driven my unfortunate colleagues mad with that maniacal catchphrase “we should be the best.” Whatever that means.
IMHO, the underpinning of excellence isn’t about where you are but never losing the desire to get better every day or week (depends on your schedule :-)). It has helped me in a lot of ways. For example, even though my blog (this one you are reading, or what do you expect?) is riddled with more grammatical errors than the grains of sand at Eleko Beach but then it never matters to me. Show me, and I will correct them. Teach me, and I will learn. I get better every day!
No story better captures this than the quest of a man to rid Wikipedia of one single grammatical error: Comprise of. Now, I’m not a language buff, but it has been argued that this is bad English. He’s done thousands of edits and has been sworn at by thousands of Wikipedians for his overbearing manner. Who cares? He’s probably using that to calm the demons demanding perfection in his feverish soul.
Is it worth it? Maybe, after all, I think a straight table with chairs neatly tucked is also worth it.

Author: dejiolowe

Adédèjì is the founder of Lendsqr, the loan infrastructure fintech powering lenders at scale. Before this, he led Trium Limited, the corporate VC of the Coronation Group, which invested in Woven Finance, Sparkle Bank, Clane, and L1ght, amongst others. He has almost two decades of banking experience, including stints as the Divisional Head of Electronic Banking at Fidelity Bank Plc. He drove the turnaround of the bank’s digital business. He was previously responsible for United Bank for Africa Group’s payment card business across 19 countries. Alongside other industry veterans, he founded Open Banking Nigeria, the nonprofit driving the development and adoption of a common API standard for the Nigerian financial industry. Beyond open APIs, Adédèjì works deeply within the fintech ecosystem; he’s the board chairman at Paystack. Adédèjì is a renowned fintech pundit and has been blogging on technology and payments at dejiolowe.com since 2001.