A Guide to Excellence: From Choice to Action
“Life’s like a play; it’s not the length but the excellence of the acting that matters.” ~Seneca
Excellence is a scarce commodity. It’s becoming harder to find in our so called efficient, fast paced, plastic laden society. And because it’s rare, it’s highly rewarded when found.
We instinctively have an appreciation for the beauty that comes from genuine and skilled effort, even by today’s standards.
The thing that we fail to see about excellence is that it’s scarce by choice—the cumulative choice of the masses to just get by with half assed effort and mediocre results.
We can’t change how everyone acts on this planet. But we can choose to act differently, to become excellent at what we do.
Excellence comes from excel—to do extremely well, to be exceptionally good at or proficient in an activity or subject.
Focused: You can’t be excellent in everything all of a sudden. You will need to focus your effort on one thing at a time.
Doable: You can become the best you can be if you decide to do so.
Meaningful: What you do has to mean something to you in order to pursue a higher level of proficiency.
Intuitive: You know in your heart what you want to be really good at.
Action: You can’t become good at anything without action, and lots of it.
Excellence brings ease and beauty to whatever you do. It inspires and transforms. The road to success is paved with excellence.
Excellence is not:
Perfect: It is your best at any given moment, which means it changes as you grow.
A destination: You don’t get to excellence. You become excellent. It is a way of life—a way of being—and not a goal.
A three step process to becoming excellent
The three steps below are quite simple but not easy. Take your time and move through the process slowly.
1- Do the best you can.
Doing the best you can means you don’t do things begrudgingly, rushing through one thing so you can jump to the next thing. It means focusing your energy with ease into the action you’re taking without the need for validation or reward.
You get to define your own best and work with it.
2- Make it a habit. Keep doing the best you can.
We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. ~Aristotle
Habits are born from doing the same thing over and over. If you do your best every time you do something, you cannot fail. The action becomes part of who you are.
The biggest challenge is to keep going when you feel discouraged and you doubt your abilities. If you keep going, you will get better and better, till you become the best you can be—you master the action.
It is in this step that you transform your talent into a valuable skill that is highly rewarded and appreciated.
3- Do the best you can in everything you do.
Work with the motto: the way you do anything is the way you do everything. Make excellence the rule and not the exception.
You can choose one thing to be excellent at. As time goes by make a conscious choice to be excellent at everything you do.
This doesn’t mean overwhelming yourself and trying to be perfect. On the contrary, you choose a few things to do and do them really well. You own a few excellent items. You work on a few projects and do your best.
This turns excellence into a way of life. You become an excellent parent, spouse, cook, worker, student and so on.
Becoming excellent uplifts your soul to higher elevations of being. The ultimate outcome anyone of us can hope for in this life is to be the best we can be. And excellence is the best way to achieve that.
“Every job is a self-portrait of the person who did it. Autograph your work with excellence.”