How to pursue personal excellence.
Why do we need to pursue excellence in what we do? What does it mean to you? Are you pursuing excellence in your life? Are you pursuing excellence in your career? Are you pursuing excellence in your relationships? If not, what are you waiting for?
So let’s look at what experts are saying or have said about the pursuit of excellence:
Aristotle once said, “Excellence is not a destination; it is a way of life.” It is a way of life, according to Aristotle, because it is what you do on a daily basis. You work toward excellence in your life; it does not happen overnight. If you want to be excellent in what you do, make it a habit to do your best every day.
In Vince Lombardi’s own words, “The quality of your life will be determined by your commitment to excellence, regardless of your chosen field.”When you commit yourself to excellence, the quality of your work will improve, and the quality of your life will also improve. On the contrary, when you focus on doing an average job, you will get an average result. Excellence does not come from average performances, it comes from excellent performances. Excellent creates excellence.
In addition to the above experts, John W. Gardner said, “Excellence is doing ordinary things well.” From Gardner’s quote, if you want to be excellent in your calling, if you want to be excellent in your life, if you want to be excellent in your relationships, you must focus on doing the little things well. Don’t ignore the power of the little things to shape your life. If you don’t pay attention to the basic things, you will find it difficult to do the complex things.
Here are additional ways you can pursue excellence in your life:
Stretch yourself. People who are excellent at what they do engage themselves in stretching activities every day. When I say stretching activities, I am not talking about the kind of stretching you do during your exercise programs. I am talking about mental stretches. Excellent people do things that others are scared to do. They are always hunting for where to stretch. They know stretching brings excellence. As a result, they are always stretching.
Embrace adversity. When you embrace adversity, you are embracing a new opportunity to know what you are made of. Adversity is not what we should run away from it is what we should embrace. It has something important to teach us. Adversity does not break us; it makes us stronger. Yes, it makes us stronger. For example, after you have stretched yourself to figure out solutions to your problems, you will never be the same again. Before the problem you were a novice, you knew nothing about it, and after the problem, you became an expert in dealing with such issues. Adversity is a blessing in disguise. Embrace it.
Don’t think about excellence, just have fun. When you focus too much on being an excellent person, you will miss the fun in what you are doing. Don’t think about it, just have fun. It is the fun that will take you into what psychologists call “flow.” It is a state where you are completely absorbed by what you are doing.
Go the extra mile. If you want more from your work or career, you must put more into it. Remember, you always reap what you sow. If you put an average effort into your career, you will get an average result. As I said before, give more to get more. In this case, go the extra mile to get more from life.
Set great goals. Achieving things of value requires you to set higher goals for yourself. Set goals that will push you beyond your comfort zone. Goals are relevant if they add value to your life. Goals are relevant if they have the power to move you to where you want to be in your life. Don’t set cheap and unrealistic goals. Set goals that are realistic and achievable.
Focus. Focus on the little things. If you master the basics, the complex things will become easier. The little things have power. Focus on them.
Take smart risks. Pursuing excellence does not mean you should engage yourself in activities that are beyond your power. Before you take on anything, make sure you conduct your own assessment of your strengths and weaknesses. Once you have done your assessment, then you will know how to prepare for the task at hand. Assess before you start. Don’t start before you assess.
Be an anti-status quo person. Status quo doesn’t bring excellence, it brings complacency. Complacency supports anti-growth. It provides comfort. It doesn’t provide opportunity for growth. If want to pursue excellence, you don’t need to be in an environment where status is the norm.
“Status quo doesn’t bring excellence, it brings complacency.”
Know your values. When you know your values, when you know what is important to you in life, making life’s critical decisions will be no problem for you. But if you don’t know what you care so much about, if you don’t know what is important to you, making life’s important decisions will be a challenge for you. Your values are your guides when it comes to decision making. Embrace your values, and your values will embrace you.
Putting it together:
Excellence is from doing the little things well. If you want to be an excellent person, stop doing the ordinary things, start doing the extraordinary things well.