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The Fine Line Between Elite and Elitist

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Years ago, while working security at a club, Julius Erving, aka “Dr. J” came in with his family for dinner. For those who don’t know, Dr. J was probably one of the best basketball players of his era. Given his fame and status he was constantly being asked to pose for pictures and sign autographs. He has always been very gracious and that evening was no different. He signed autographs for everyone that asked and posed for pictures. When the family finally sat down for dinner, security stopped the other patrons from bothering the family so they could eat in peace. While this was the right thing to do, some of the patrons got upset and made comments that Dr. J thought he was better than them. In some ways, perhaps he was: when it came to basketball, he was in an elite category; however, that did not make him an elitist.

Being elite and being an elitist are two very different things.  One may lead to the other if one is not careful, but not always. Elite people are folks that are at the top of their field. Being elite takes work. It takes practice. Sometimes you can be born with an exceptional gift like a photographic memory or a genius IQ, but it still takes work to hone your talent. Being elite does not make you an elitist. It puts you in a class of your own; be it in sports, academics, the arts, etc. In case of Dr. J, Michael Jordan or even Steven Hawking they are tops in their field, they are the elite.

An Elitist on the other hand is someone who feels they are better than you. They are someone that needs to put you down to make themselves feel better. Looking down on others and elevating yourself makes you an elitist. A person that is elite, focuses on making themselves better; an elitist on the other hand focuses on why they are better and how others are not.

At J2, we hold monthly “Better You” meetings. We use this time to challenge ourselves to think outside the box and make ourselves better professionally both as an individual and as a team. These meetings can be (almost) anything our team suggests. From reading and discussing an informative article to testing our focus or pushing our limits on a Go-Kart track- the sky is the limit when striving to be elite!

“I have not wanted to intimidate audiences. I have not wanted my dancing to be an elitist form. That doesn’t mean I haven’t wanted it to be excellent.”— Twyla Tharp

Have a weekend full of excellence.