But that competence doesn’t come without effort. As Olympic swimming medalist Mark Spitz put it, “We all love to win, but how many people love to train?
Excellence means doing your best at whatever you do. Doing your best requires competence. But that competence doesn’t come without effort. As Olympic swimming medalist Mark Spitz put it, “We all love to win, but how many people love to train?”
Excellence calls for discipline and character. Excellence is not competing with others; it is enhancing your own abilities and competing with yourself. It is about becoming passionate and enthusiastic in your work and displaying the highest of standards at all times.
If you want to achieve excellence, strive to become extraordinary. As Elbert Hubbard, a prolific American editor, publisher, and author put it: “One machine can do the work of 50 ordinary people, but no machine can do the work of one extraordinary person.”
Ordinary people, when confronted with a challenge, ask, “Can I do it?” Extraordinary people, who pursue excellence as a pattern, ask “How can I do it.” The difference between excellence and mediocrity is the power driving the single word “how”, and that word is available to all of us at every moment.
Excellence is not an act, but a habit. Many of us do things unconsciously most of the time. So once we form the habit of striving for excellence, it becomes second nature, and we pursue excellence unconsciously.
Psychologists say that the easiest way to break a bad habit is to cultivate a good one to replace it. They say it takes about a month for a new habit to become firmly rooted. So brushing your teeth well, eating healthy food, exercising regularly, and reading daily are all habits you can cultivate.
Look after your habits and the habits will do the rest for you.
Kevin O’Connor, the founder of both DoubleClick and FindTheBest, makes an effort to focus on only the top few things that create the most substantial impact. As he told FastCompany, “Most people tend to focus on the 100 things they should do, which can be overwhelming, and result in the failure to actually accomplishing anything of importance. I try to focus on the three to five things I absolutely have to do. I don’t get distracted by those ninety-seven other unimportant things that don’t ultimately contribute to my success or the success of my company.”
People who strive for excellence are not fearful of change or challenges, but will make things happen despite all odds. Excellent people always do their best and are impeccable about keeping their word. They speak well, look well, and perform well. They feel good about themselves, thus inviting good relationships and Life Balance.
In the corporate world, quality is often described as “free from defects.” To us, quality also means providing customers with the products and services they want, the way they want them – with no hassle and no errors. Excellence means that we do all this to an extraordinary degree. So when we speak of quality, we are also speaking of excellence.
An attitude of excellence does not tolerate lax standards. IBM once took a look at itself and found that one operation was processing 96 per cent of its orders perfectly. Many people would consider that high quality, but fixing four per cent of the products that were miscoded was actually occupying 58 per cent of the people and hardware. To achieve top quality, we must learn to do things right the first time.
Quality must color our outlook on life and our attitudes toward our jobs. Aim for the best and let your customers think of your company as the one that does it right – every time.
Condensed message from “Life Balance the Sufi Way” by Azim Jamal and Dr. Nido Qubein. For feedback email firstname.lastname@example.org