Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Excellence as a Habit

One of my favorite quotes is from the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle who said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit.” There is nothing like the sports, professional and amateur (like the Olympics) to illustrate his point.

These athletes have made a habit out of excellence. More specifically, they have made habits out of the very things that make excellence possible: a rigorous practice schedule, a coach who holds them to the highest of expectations - expectations that they also have for themselves. Their diets, their sleep schedules and all of the sacrifices they make in pursuit of their goals, makes excellence more than a possibility. For them, it's a reality. It's within their reach. The gold is theirs to grasp.

These athletes, at the top of their game have learned at a young age that there are no shortcuts. You have to do the work. You have to put in the effort. You have to have the focus. When you fall, you have to get back up and go at it again, and again and again.

Not everyone can be an Olympian or a professional athlete, but we all can make excellence a habit. We can set higher goals for ourselves and then do what it takes to reach them. Think of what an Olympian like effort could do for you. Maybe you'd be a better parent, maybe you'd double your sales or get that promotion. You could finish writing that book or eradicate that credit card debt. You could finally lose that weight once and for all, maybe you'd conquer your fear of heights or public speaking.

Think of how much your life could improve if you made excellence, and the activities it takes to create it, a habit.

Now, what are you waiting for?