The Habit of Excellence

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. AristotleThe Act Habit of Excellence

A dictionary definition of excellence states that it is the quality of being outstanding or extremely good or superior at something. In other words, whenever you excel at something you are performing at a level far above what the average person is able to give to that particular skill or situation. This is all well and good, however, it doesn’t really provide us with anything practical or actionable to work with. For instance, how will you know when you’re excelling at something? What are the specific indicators? Or, what does it really feel like to excel at something that is far beyond what other people are able to accomplish?

These are not easy questions to answer because excellence could very well be purely based on perception and the expectations that one holds of oneself in very specific situations. For instance, my definition of excellence in a particular situation could be very different when compared to your definition of excellence. And yet both of us could feel as though we are excelling, and yet only one of us will have the better results/outcomes from our actions. Therefore, does this mean that only one of us is excelling and the other is just fooling themselves? Or, do we both need to be in the top 5 percent in the world to attain excellence in any field of endeavor? Or is it the top 1 percent? Who knows? Who decides this? Or maybe excellence has absolutely nothing to do with us but is purely based on other people’s expectations. Therefore surpassing another person’s expectations immediately ascends us into the realms of excellence???

Given all this, it’s quite clear that it’s going to be very difficult to outline a concrete definition of what excellence truly means. However, we can certainly broaden the definition of excellence in a multitude of ways based on a set of simple actions. Partaking in each one of these actions helps us build very specific habits that lead us down the path towards attaining results in life that the vast majority of people never reach. Therefore a culmination of all these habits could very well substitute as our definition of excellence because as Aristotle mentioned, excellence is what we repeatedly do. It’s not an act but rather a habit. Or in other words, a culmination of habits directed at a very specific goal for a definitive purpose.

What follows is a set of actions, habits, beliefs, decisions and empowering thoughts that in combination will help you get the results you desire to create in your life in pursuit of your highest goals and life’s purpose. Working these ideas into your life will set you on a path In Pursuit of Excellence, where you will begin to excel far beyond what the vast majority of people are capable of. And that I guess is what excellence is all about. It’s about doing the things that the majority of the population cannot or will not do. That is what separates you from the crowd and helps you to live a life of excellence.

So let’s get started on this exploratory journey and identify what it really means to live a life of excellence.

What it Means to Pursue Excellence


What it Means to Live in Pursuit of Excellence

To live a life in pursuit of excellence means having an insatiable hunger to:

  • Make a positive difference in people’s lives.
  • Pursue your own path, dreams and deepest passions.
  • Share your expertise and enthusiasm willingly with the world.
  • Do things better than you initially expected; better than other people would do in the same situation.
  • Leave a lasting legacy behind that impacts the world in a positive way. How do you want to be remembered?
  • Work not only harder but also make an effort to work smarter each and every day.

To live a life in pursuit of excellence means showing enthusiasm to:

  • Improve yourself by expanding your boundaries and raising your personal standards.
  • Learn something new daily by updating your knowledge, by staying informed, by reading books, and by developing new skills.
  • Learn from experience through self-reflection especially from mistakes, failure, and other people’s endeavors.

How to Pursue Excellence in Everything You Do

To live a life in pursuit of excellence means you must:

  • Set clearly defined goals.
  • Let go of the negative thoughts that are keeping you stuck and feeling miserable.
  • Follow through on the promises you make to yourself and others.
  • Avoid the pitfalls of procrastination, perfectionism and instant gratification.
  • Maintain high levels of energy through proper diet, exercise, and adequate sleep.
  • Keep your motivation levels primed at all times to help you get through difficult periods of your life.
  • Plan ahead tactically and strategically by anticipating potential setbacks and problems in advance.
  • Keep persisting and moving forward no matter how many difficulties you face along your path.
  • Avoid making pitiful excuses for the lack of results in your life.
  • Take full responsibility for your choices, decisions, actions and the attitude you bring into every situation.

To live a life in pursuit of excellence means continuously:

  • Cultivating a solution-focused mindset.
  • Being adaptable to changing conditions and circumstances.
  • Striving to be humble, tenacious, curious and compassionate.
  • Giving without the expectation of getting anything back in return.
  • Inspiring others to overcome their problems and achieve their goals.
  • Striving to live a life of no regrets by making the most of your opportunities.
  • Living your life true to your highest core values.

To live a life in pursuit of excellence means making the most use of your time. This means:

  • Staying focused on getting results while working on your highest priority activities.
  • Gaining most value from every opportunity, interaction and minute of your day.
  • Consistently pushing yourself to raise your levels of productivity.

How to Live a Life of ExcellenceTo live a life in pursuit of excellence means associating with the right kinds of people. Surround yourself with:

  • Caring people who support and believe in you wholeheartedly in the pursuit of your deepest passions.
  • Positive role models whom you can use as a source of inspiration.
  • World-class mentors who can provide you with the guidance and advice you need to make the right decisions.
  • Coaches who can bring out the best in you in every situation.

To live a life in pursuit of excellence means understanding:

  • How to successfully manage difficult emotions such as anger, frustration, anxiety, overwhelm and stress.
  • Your unique strengths, talents, and abilities, then making the most of these gifts with every decision you make and action you take.
  • How to effectively circumnavigate your weaknesses by outsourcing and delegating certain tasks and activities to better optimize your time and efforts.
  • How to utilize your intuition to help you make better and more effective decisions.

To live a life in pursuit of excellence means finding the courage to:

  • Take intelligent risks in times of uncertainty.
  • Make the most of every opportunity that comes your way.
  • Distance yourself from unhealthy relationships and friendships that drag you down emotionally.
  • Overcome the addictions that tend to hold you back in life.
  • Conquer the fears, the self-limiting beliefs and all the obstacles and problems that hold you back from living the life you desire to create for yourself.

Finally, to live a life in pursuit of excellence means being open to new perspectives, viewpoints, and ideas. There is always a better way to look at a situation; there is always an alternate perspective; there is always an inspiring idea that you haven’t yet thought of, and there is always opportunity to do things differently and better than you have done them before. However, you must always be open to the possibility that life has more to offer.

Living an Excellent Life


Pursuing Excellence is a State of Mind

Given all that we have discussed, it’s quite clear that the pursuit of excellence is nothing more than a state of mind that leads to positive action. These actions over time turn into habits, and these habits turn into concrete results that separate you from the masses. However, this is a process. Habits are not developed overnight. It takes time to develop the habits that lead to a life of excellence. But it, of course, all starts with the right mindset.

The thoughts you allow to dwell on your mind and the subsequent attitude you bring to every situation will determine what actions you take or choose not to take. Then, of course, the consistency or lack of consistency of these actions will either help you develop empowering habits, or will keep you stuck in mediocrity. The choice is solely yours to make.

The pursuit of excellence will not be an easy path. In fact, it will be extremely difficult. It’s difficult because you have to make sacrifices to let go of the lazy habits that are feeding your comfort zone. Within the realms of this comfort zone you feel in control and secure. However, life only rewards those willing to step out of their comfort zone; those who take the actions that the masses are not willing to take; those who make an effort to separate themselves from the crowd and do more than anyone else would ever expect. That is what it means to live in the pursuit of excellence.

The odds, of course, suggest that you are unlikely to succeed. Excellence is only reserved for the few people who are willing to take all the risk and make all the sacrifices necessary to stand out from the crowd. A very small percentage of people will ever take this step, and even fewer will commit themselves to living a life of excellence in the long-term. So yes, the odds are certainly stacked against you, but there will be people who will beat the odds. So why not you? Why couldn’t you be one of those people? Of course, you could. And all it takes is to begin working through all these small actions progressively over the course of the next few days, weeks, months and even years. Eventually, through persistent effort, you will develop the necessary habits that will help you begin living a life of excellence.

Today’s article was written by Adam Sicinski and is shared from the following website: https://blog.iqmatrix.com/pursuit-of-excellence

 

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8 Ways to Help Others Succeed

A Warrior’s mission is to foster the success of others Morihei Ueshiba

8 WAYS TO HELP OTHERS SUCCEED

Of all the joys of leadership, helping others succeed is one of the most rewarding and yet many leaders do not show an aptitude for this trait. There are numerous reasons for this from sheer hubris to not wanting underlings to advance beyond them due to insecurity. Probably the most common issue with helping others succeed is that it takes time and effort. Most leaders are so stressed out trying to maximize their own progress, they have little time or energy to perform the tasks that will allow others to blossom.

Here are eight areas where leaders can invest time and energy to find the payoff substantially more than the investment.

1. Become a Mentor

Having a good mentor speeds the development of any professional by 2-3 times the rate that would be achieved if one had to rely on self study and experience. Leaders need to realize that being a good mentor brings numerous advantages not only to the protégé but to himself. Reason: When we coach someone else, we are actually subconsciously coaching ourselves. In addition, the protégé brings information and a point of view that the leader would find hard to obtain without a trusted source of information. Make sure you are actively mentoring at least 2 professionals.

2. Invest Time

Taking time out of your day to coach other people adds perspective and helps prevent burnout. Thinking positive thoughts about what someone could become with the right development is a welcome break from the pressure cooker of critical decisions and time commitments. You will find yourself looking forward to your “people development time” once you get in the habit.

3. Be Accessible

Show by example that it is easy to get through to you. Many top executives insulate themselves from underlings to help manage time. When you demonstrate a willingness to get back to people quickly, it sends a signal that they really matter to you. That translates into improved morale, which directly boosts productivity. It takes a lot of discipline, but if people respect your willingness to be responsive, they will not be likely to abuse the privilege.

4. Empathize In Rough Times

We all go through difficult periods both professionally and personally. When a leader reaches out with moral support during these times, it shows a human side that makes a huge difference. One caveat, however, never reflect sympathy if it is not sincere. People see right through insincere empathy, and it can do more damage than ignoring the problems of people.

5. Get People in the Right Position

At any time, somewhere between 20-40% of professionals are in the wrong job just trying to survive and do their best. When you constantly seek to understand the correct position for individuals, you not only help reduce their personal agony, you improve productivity in giant chunks. This matching process is not a one shot affair. Make it a constant analysis of who could be better placed in another position. Sometimes this will mean a lateral move, or a promotion, or even a demotion. Many people have significantly improved their quality of work life by taking a demotion. It has saved the lives of many professionals.

6. Be a Mirror

When someone has a failing strategy, it is often difficult for the person to even see it let alone know how to change it. You can be helpful at bringing people to reality. Do this in a kind way following the Golden Rule, and you will rarely go wrong. If you avoid getting involved with failing people, you are just letting them drift along with their suboptimal condition, which wastes their precious time and hurts the organization.

7. Develop People – Including Yourself

Make sure every person has a concrete development plan that is not just a string of courses, readings, or seminars. Personal growth is really about helping people rise to their highest possible contribution. Make sure you model personal development yourself. Do not consider that you are too busy for it. Your own development plan should inspire your underlings to have one as well.

8. Write Your Own Eulogy

One helpful exercise is to actually sit down and write your own eulogy. It sounds maudlin, but it is really a helpful exercise. When you crystallize your thoughts about how you would like to be remembered it is easier to see the deltas from your current pathway. Then it is up to you to do something about it.

There are probably dozens of other things a leader can do to help others, but this list of eight things is a great place to start.

Today’s article was written by Robert Whipple and is shared from the following website: http://www.evancarmichael.com/library/robert-whipple/8-Ways-to-Help-Others-Succeed.html

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Creating a Life of Excellence

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit Aristotle

10 tips for creating a life and living your dream

Stop doing things just because others expect them of you.

Your heart must be in it to finish the race. When we do things just because we ‘should,’ we eventually reach a place of resentment, anger, and rebellion.

Get your priorities straight.

Spend your time, talents, and resources with the people, activities, or things that are meaningful to you. Stop wasting these on people or things that are not adding value to your life or that keep you from moving forward towards what you want to be or do.

March to the beat of your own band

The most satisfying experiences in our lives are when we are engaged physically, emotionally, spiritually, mentally, or intellectually. Life is meant to be effortless. If you’re tugging and pulling, and everything feels like an uphill battle, then you’re doing the wrong thing.

Do what you’re good at and the money will follow.

Whether you’re a brain surgeon or a dogwalker, be the best you can be at it because you love it. Your enthusiasm and love for what you do is what will make you successful in the long run. Enthusiastic and positive people attract others to them who want that too.

Share your dream with others, but be discerning.

Realize that not everyone you share your dream with will be thrilled for you. Avoid the nay-sayers and focus on those people who can support you even if they don’t agree with you

Stop making excuses and just do it.

The reason (excuses) for why you have not taken that first step does not matter. What matters is that you take that first step NOW.

Determine what your ideal life looks like.

Most people’s initial response to this is ‘I don’t know.’ If you did know, what would your ideal life be like? Who would you want to live with, who would you like to meet, where would you like to live, what activities/shows/parties/places would you like to experience or be with?

Identify the stumbling blocks that can be turned into stepping stones.

Your past experiences and adversity can create opportunity for you. It’s all in how you look at life and how you choose to use those experiences so that you eliminate the blocks and move on in spite of them. Victory is yours!

Reduce your learning curve.

Learn from the experiences and mistakes of others. Instead of reinventing the wheel, take what you can apply from the trials and challenges others have overcome then tweak the process to fit your own situation.

Align yourself with a role model/mentor. 

Having someone who’s ‘been there and done that’ is one of the best ways to get yourself on track with what you want to accomplish or be. A mentor will be supportive, offer the benefit of his/her expertise and knowledge, and will listen to you when you need the support the most. Author Unknown

The Art of Achievement

You hold in your hand the camel’s-hair brush of a painter of Life. You stand before the vast white canvas of Time.

The paints are your thoughts, emotions and acts.

You select the colors of your thoughts; drab or bright, weak or strong, good or bad.

You select the colors of your emotions; discordant or harmonious, harsh or quiet, weak or strong.

You select the colors of your acts; cold or warm, fearful or daring, small or big.

You visualize yourself as the person you want to be.

You strive to make the ideal in your mind become a reality on the canvas of Time.

Each moment of your life is a brush stroke in the painting of your growing career.

There are the bold, sweeping strokes of one increasing, dynamic purpose.

There are the lights and shadows that make your life deep and strong.

There are the little touches that add the stamp of character and worth.

The art of achievement is the art of making life – your life – a masterpiece.

The Art of Achievement was written by Wilferd A. Peterson. Materials from today’s post were shared from the following website: http://www.agiftofinspiration.com.au/stories/achievement/Art.shtml

 

 

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How to Autograph Your Life with Excellence

Every job is a self portrait of the Person who did it. Autograph your work with excellence UnknownHere lived a great street sweeper who did his job well

I had been working much too long on this job. I guess things could have been worse. I certainly wasn’t doing hard labour. But going door to door asking questions as a representative of the federal government wasn’t the most satisfying position either. It was August. It was hot. I had to wear a tie.

‘Hello. My name is Bob Perks and we are doing a survey in this neighbourhood.’

‘I’m not interested! Good bye!’

You can’t imagine how many times I heard that. I finally caught on and began with

‘Before you slam the door, I am not selling anything and I just need to ask a few questions about yourself and the community.’ The young woman inside the doorway, paused for a moment, raised her eyebrows as she shrugged her shoulders confused by my rude introduction.

‘Sure. Come on in. Don’t mind the mess. It’s tough keeping up with my kids.’

It was an older home in a section of the valley where people with meagre income found affordable shelter. With the little they had, the home looked comfortable and welcoming.

‘I just need to ask a few questions about yourself and family. Although this may sound personal I won’t need to use your names. This information will be used’

She interrupted me. ‘Would you like a glass of cold water? You look like you’ve had a rough day.’

‘Why yes!’ I said eagerly. Just as she returned with the water, a man came walking in the front door. It was her husband.

‘Joe, this man is here to do a survey.’ I stood and politely introduced myself.

Joe was tall and lean. His face was rough and aged looking although I figured he was in his early twenties. His hands were like leather. The kind of hands you get from working hard, not pushing pencils. She leaned toward him and kissed him gently on the cheek. As they looked at each other you could see the love that held them together. She smiled and titled her head, laying it on his shoulder. He touched her face with his hands and softly said ‘I love you!’

They may not have had material wealth, but these two were richer than most people I know. They had a powerful love. The kind of love that keeps your head up when things are looking down.

‘Joe works for the borough.’ she said.

‘What do you do?’ I asked. She jumped right in not letting him answer.

‘Joe collects garbage. You know I’m so proud of him.’

‘Honey, I’m sure the man doesn’t want to hear this.’ said Joe.

‘No, really I do.’ I said.

‘You see Bob, Joe is the best garbage man in the borough. He can stack more garbage on the truck than anyone else. He gets so much in one truck that they don’t have to make as many runs’, she said with such passion.

‘In the long run,’ Joe continues, ‘I save the borough money. Man hours are down and the cost per truck is less.’

There was silence. I didn’t know what to say. I shook my head searching for the right words. ‘That’s incredible! Most people would gripe about a job like that. It certainly is a difficult one. But your attitude about it is amazing.’ I said. She walked over to the shelf next to the couch. As she turned she held in her hand a small-framed paper.

‘When we had our third child Joe lost his job. We were on unemployment for a time and then eventually welfare. He couldn’t find work anywhere. Then one day he was sent on an interview here in this community. They offered him the job he now holds. He came home depressed and ashamed. Telling me this was the best he could do. It actually paid less than we got on welfare.’

She paused for a moment and walked toward Joe. ‘I have always been proud of him and always will be. You see I don’t think the job makes the man. I believe the man makes the job!’

‘We needed to live in the borough in order to work here. So we rented this home.’ Joe said.

‘When we moved in, this quote was hanging on the wall just inside the front door. It has made all the difference to us, Bob. I knew that Joe was doing the right thing.’ she said as she handed me the frame.

It said: If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep the streets even as Michelangelo painted or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.’ Martin Luther King

‘I love him for who he is. But what he does, he does the best. I love my garbage man!’

Today’s inspiring story was written by Bob Parks and is shared from the following website: http://www.agiftofinspiration.com.au/stories/achievement/sweeper.shtml

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Are You Living the Life You Were Created For…or an Ordinary Life?

I can’t believe that God put us on  this earth just to be ordinary   Lou Holtz

If you feel like you are no one special and that you have nothing to offer, You have quit listening to your heart. In fact, maybe you don’t know that your heart speaks to you?

When my oldest daughter was born (also my first child), my husband made me a drawing of her. On the drawing, he included a quote that contained the following phrase, “Cause God doesn’t make any junk”.

It was a cute quote then…now I realize that it is profound. I hope that you know your value and I hope that in your heart, you, in some way, can feel of your worth and importance.

You were not born to be someone ordinary. You were born to be extraordinary!

I hope you enjoy today’s story! Have an inspiring weekend!

It Is Not What’s Gone – But What’s Given

Not too long ago a little girl in my neighborhood was born without a hand. She was born just after my own second daughter Ella was born. Her parents were obviously shaken up. About a week later, I saw them at a neighborhood function and they came over to me and asked what my thoughts were, if I had any advice, for them and for their daughter. My advice? This is their daughter’s life and they were asking my advice? Talk about humbling. What do you say? I had nothing very smart to say.

I told myself I wouldn’t let that happen again. That it was important that I could share what I have learned.

I’ve learned that there are millions of people out there ignoring disabilities and accomplishing incredible feats. I learned that you can learn to do things differently, but do them just as well. I’ve learned that it’s not the disability that defines you, it’s how you deal with the challenges the disability presents you with. I’ve learned that we have an obligation to the abilities we do have, not the disability.

I was born without my right hand. I have never felt slighted. As a kid I was pretty coordinated and growing up I loved sports. I learned to play baseball like most kids, playing catch with my Dad in the front yard. The only difference was that we had to come up with a method to throw and catch with the same hand. What we came up with, is basically what I continued to do my whole life. I used to practice by pretending to be my favorite pitchers. I’d throw a ball against a brick wall on the side of our house, switching the glove off and on, moving closer to the wall- forcing myself to get that glove on faster and faster. I imagined myself becoming a successful athlete.

Growing up, sports were my way of gaining acceptance. I guess somewhere deep inside I was thinking if I was good enough on the field then maybe kids wouldn’t think of me as being so different. Honestly I hid behind sports. I wanted the attention that comes from being successful, but I was very reluctant to draw any attention to my disability You know it’s funny, there was an article in the L.A. Times recently about a high school pitcher who has been doing very well— despite missing one hand. He mentioned my name as an example but went on to say he didn’t want to be like me, he wanted to be like Randy Johnson. At first my feelings were hurt, but then I understood. That’s exactly the same way I felt growing up. I didn’t want to be defined by a disability. Focus on my pitching and not my hand.

I loved throwing a baseball. It is so important to find something in life you feel crazy about. Because you are so passionate you naturally practice, the hard work that it takes to do something well will come easily.

You know how it worked out. I got to play baseball at the University of Michigan, 2 United States teams The 1987 Pan American team and the 1988 United States Olympic team. Even though I played in the major leagues for almost 10 years the Olympics are still one of my favorite memories.

You know in my career I once won 18 games in a year, I also lost 18 games in one year. I was fortunate enough to go straight from the Olympic team to the major leagues. Never spending a day in the minors. I was also sent down to the minor leagues after 8 years in the big leagues. In 1996 I went 2-18 with a 7 run era . I couldn’t get anyone out. I was in the first year of a long term contract with a team near my home. It was supposed to be easy. That following year I was fired. Drove back to California, crying all the way. I spent that summer up in Michigan hurting and wondering if my career was over. Somewhere deep inside I wasn’t sure. So I called the Chicago White Sox for a try out.

They gave me a chance to pitch again. I would watch the major leagues on t.v. with the rest of those kids and it felt like a million miles away. That had been my life. I was away from my family who I know thought I was crazy. Then I got the call I was going to Chicago back to the show. That was the good news, bad news your facing the Yankees Sat. night. They were about 100 and 15 at the time. I went on to win that game against the Yankees that night. In fact I went 5-0 the rest of that Sept.

I would like to tell those parents back in my neighborhood how wonderful my own parents were, and are. They encouraged me to participate, but didn’t dwell on every move I made. I don’t ever remember a concession to the fact that I had one hand. Maybe even a little more was expected. I will always be thankful that they never allowed my hand to be used as an excuse.

I would like to tell that little girl, “Go out and find what it is that you love. It may not be the most obvious choice or the most logical but never let that stop you.” Baseball was hardly the most the most logical choice for someone with one hand, but I loved it, so that’s what I pursued. No matter where the road takes you don’t give up until you know in your heart you done everything you possibly could to make your dreams come true. You owe nothing to disability, ignore it. When you fail, get back up and try again. Leave no room for an excuse. Don’t listen to what you can’t do. 99% of the time I never think of missing a hand. I have never been envious of someone with two hands. Listen to that voice deep within you, it knows, when you’ve done your best.

Somehow when things are said and done there will be some accountability imagine someone coming up to you at the end of your life and saying “you’ve been given these talents what did you do with them.” There is a certain potential we owe it to ourselves to live up to. Work hard, don’t look back, celebrate the blessings in your life.

– Jim Abbott

Today’s inspirational story shared from the following website: http://www.aboutonehandtyping.com/storiesfolder/jimabbottnotgone.html

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