I agree that Faulkner was encouraging us to be the best that we can be. We better ourselves not by looking at our contemporaries and trying to better them, but look at the past, and leaders in the past. Look at the knowledge we now possess in comparison to the past, and make yourself better then what has come before. When thinking about self, look back to where you were…when you had little knowledge or little skill. Then look at where you are now and see the improvement, then strive toward tomorrow knowing that you can be better than you are today.
“one should focus on improving themselves and always striving to do better than they have achieved in the past.” I believe you meant to say better than YOU have achieved in the past.
“This statement is highly impressionable as it challenges responders to reject …” I am not sure what you are trying to say there, but the word impressionable would not be the correct word in this sentence.
Hope my criticism helps.