Choosing Excellence over Success

Three Habits to Find Purpose and Meaning

Photo by Quang Nguyen Vinh

“Without commitment, you’ll never start. But more importantly, without consistency, you’ll never finish.” – Denzel Washington.

What did you do today to make you better than you were yesterday? Are you improving?”
“Which would you rather achieve, success or excellence?”
On the face of it, success and excellence seemed the same to me. Hearing the question from the “Blink” of The Pursuit of Excellence by Ryan grabbed my attention.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit.” — Aristotle.
Take a cue from the man considered the greatest marathon runner of all time – Eliud Kipchoge.

  1. Focus on and respect the process.

“To win is not important. To be successful is not even important. How to plan and prepare is crucial.” – Eliud Kipchoge.
The goal is to be disciplined enough to work daily – read the books, work out in the gym and work on yourself. Daily discipline guarantees the desired results. Focusing and respecting the process also means accepting failure as part of growth. When we set and achieve our goals, we succeed. But we consistently guarantee excellence when we adopt and follow a system or process. Be patient.

  1. Turn positive behaviours into habits.

“Without commitment, you’ll never start. But more importantly, without consistency, you’ll never finish.” – Denzel Washington.
Consistent practice of desirable behaviours turns into habits. For example, it is better to focus on being a writer than to set a goal of writing a book. You might lose the incentive to write after you succeed in publishing your first book. But, if you develop a daily writing habit, you will excel as a writer. Be sensitive in identifying the desirable behaviours that will help you become your best self. And to turn those behaviours into habits, you must start small, like writing a page daily. Know what triggers the behaviour and be consistent.

  1. Remove obstacles from your environment.
    I could trace every feeling of unfulfilment or satisfaction down to the one habit. When I started my weight loss journey, I had to make my house helper happy. I gave her everything sugary and starchy from my fridge and kitchen cabinet. To start my writing journey, I cancelled my cable TV subscription to make time for writing daily.

What is around you that is stopping you from turning positive behaviours into habits? Your environment fuels your habits.
We are not in competition with anything or anyone. To excel, we must focus on growth and doing what feels rewarding and fulfilling. Therefore, excellence is personal, intrinsic and internal. And because growth is continuous, to excel means to play the infinite game. To achieve this, you must accept and focus on what you can control, believe you can improve and learn new skills and be in the right environment with the right people.
If you can affirm daily that you are better than you were yesterday, then you are on your way to excellence, growth in your career and a fulfilled life. Excellence is a process of self-discovery and personal growth.

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