Think fast! Given the choice between quality and quantity, which would you choose? Be honest. Not an easy choice, though I’d guess that most readers of this blog would pick quality. It’s probably a quick choice for most, actually.

Who hasn’t heard the mantra a hundred time? “If you’re going to do something, you might as well do it right!” But is that always true?

Quality: There is something innately human about wanting to do things to the best of our abilities. Creating something better than anyone has created before. Exceeding expectations. Taking your time and doing it right. There is little better in life than the satisfaction of being the best.

Quantity: Today’s fast-paced world simply requires greater output than in the past. The IM, text, and Tweet have replaced voicemail and email. Today’s students have been developing their resumes since middle school by getting involved in service and social activities. And in an increasingly competitive job market, we all need to find ways to stand out from the crowd, often by seeking new and diverse experiences.

Quality and quantity, however, are not mutually exclusive, and it’s dangerous to believe that they are.

Never let yourself believe that in order to achieve one you must sacrifice the other. The Jesuit concept of the Magis would teach us that we always strive for the ‘more’. To be better than we thought we could be. To give of ourselves more fully. To commit more deeply to pursuits that matter to us and to those around us.

Giving of oneself in service to others is one way that Loyola hopes its students will distinguish themselves. But performing numerous hours of service without taking a moment to reflect and contemplate on its meaning is missing the mark. Meanwhile, spending time in reflection without taking action to confront the problems of our society is a fruitless endeavour.

Quality and quantity go together. They are two peas in a pod. Next time you find yourself quipping about how you’d always take quality over quantity, tuck that thought away. Both are possible, and you’ll know when you’re only striving for one at the expense of the other. So live life. Live it every day. And live it well!

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