Excellence is simply being your best…period. It is being focused on the present moment and doing what you can to improve yourself here and now- with the resources you have available here and now.
The problem isn’t that most people are not extraordinary; it’s that we can so readily compare ourselves with so many others. In human history, this is a fairly new problem.
Sure, a lot of people knew about Mozart in the 18th century. But even among those who did, very few actually heard him play the piano. Do you think other piano players felt the same pressure in those times to compare themselves to Mozart?
No- most people who had the means were expected to learn piano so they could enjoy music and to develop themselves.
Today people are often discouraged from exploring their talents because those talents won’t necessarily “pay off.” You might not ever compose a Top 10 hit song- that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy music and even be…excellent.
Should you only study martial arts to be a movie star? Should you only sing if you have a chance to win American Idol? Should you forget about painting because you know your work will never hang at the Guggenheim?
Ironically, many high-performers don’t even worry about the “pay off.” They enjoy their activity or profession and they simply focus, stay disciplined and they practice their craft. Money and fame are by-products of excellence. They are seldom the primary object of practice.
This is an important distinction because to perform at the highest level, you have to be able to sustain focused practice through the tough times. When you look at any high performer, you find many more tough times than moments of success.
You sustain your practice and you improve through motivation, discipline and focus applied over time. That’s where excellence grows.
Excellence is simply the daily practice of doing one’s best. Focus on ending today better than you were this morning.
Do this every day and excellence becomes, well…ordinary!
“Excellence means reaching the highest levels of performance, production, and creativity that you can achieve. Compare yourself to others and you’ll always find people better or worse than you are; that’s incidental. Compare who you are today to who you were yesterday; that’s a meaningful comparison.”