Excellence Never Happens by Accident

According to the great philosopher, Aristotle, "Excellence is never an accident. It is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, and intelligent execution”.

The pursuit of excellence isn’t a destination you reach and then forget about; it’s a lifelong process. It’s an ongoing journey of self-discovery and self-improvement that involves the setting of ambitious but realistic goals, in line with your broader life aspirations.

Those who achieve personal excellence enjoy productive lives, healthy relationships, and a sense of inner satisfaction. They stand out for their inner drive and unwavering commitment to realizing their full potential, no matter what. Excellence is not reserved for a select few but is accessible to anyone who has the will and motivation to reach their full potential and remain steadfast in their pursuit. It starts with self-confidence and a profound desire to constantly improve and grow.

What are the prerequisites for personal excellence?

1.     Self-Evaluation

Know yourself, your strengths, ask yourself what you're really good at and what activities energize you. Be intentional about becoming the person you want to be, in line with your goals.

Spend time reflecting on the aspects of your life that mean the most to you and have the greatest impact, then strive to excel in those areas. Excellence isn’t about being the best at everything – it's about being the best at the things that really matter to you.

It may seem obvious that we get the best results from doing the things we're good at and doing them in a way that fits our unique circumstances. Yet very few people realize this and build on their core strengths.

So, the questions we need to ask ourselves are: "What are my strengths? How can I perform better? What are my values? Where do I fit in? How can I contribute to making the world a better place? This could be health, education or climate protection, or something more general, like being kind, trustworthy or safety conscious.

2.     Set realistic yet ambitious, measurable goals

Establishing a path to excellence – becoming the best version of ourselves [self-actualization] – starts with setting realistic, yet ambitious and measurable goals that align with our broader aspirations.

By naming our goals, we make them real, personal and ours, which means that we take ownership of them and their results.

At the end of each day, as we reflect on your progress, let’s remember that the pursuit of excellence isn't about achieving perfection; it's about becoming a better version of ourselves.

This process can be both challenging and rewarding, and the sense of accomplishment we feel at the end of each day acts as a powerful motivator.

3.     Develop a mindset of excellence

A mindset of excellence reflects a commitment to personal growth, a belief in one's ability to improve through effort and learning, and a dedication to the journey no matter how challenging it may be.

Such a mindset has a lot to do with the attitude we adopt when faced with challenges, the way we deal with setbacks, and how we adapt to change and evolve as a result. Charles De Gaulle once said: "Failures are the rocks on which success is built".

4.     Focus, focus, focus

Focus on matters that will serve you well. They will open the door to new opportunities and new areas of growth. Don't dissipate your energy on distractions.

5.     Put up with pain

Striving for excellence requires hard work and dedication. It's about consistently doing your best and challenging yourself to exceed the norm.

“There is no glory without pain.” Life itself is a painful experience. That's why the stories of heroes appeal so much to us: Every hero must confront pain, kill fear, and overcome suffering in order to evolve and achieve the glory of conquering trials that others dare not pursue.

6.     Practice self-compassion

Compassion is a crucial companion on the path to excellence, both for yourself and for others. It is important to approach this journey with kindness and self-forgiveness.

Accept your imperfections, for they are part of what makes you unique as a human being. Healthy striving doesn't involve self-criticism or negative self-talk. It's about pursuing self-improvement with a positive, constructive mindset.

What's more, perfection is impossible; it creates an internal conflict between who we are and who we'd like to be, which prevents us from being either.

7.     Be selective about who you associate with

It's the diversity of thought and experience of others that helps us broaden our worldview and opens us up to new ideas. That's why it's critical that we surround ourselves with people who can help us become a more well-rounded person/professional, not people who influence us in ways that are unfavorable to our development.

While champions forge alliances with other champions, underachievers create dependencies with other underachievers. One of the hallmarks of human psychology is the constant projection of self onto others. In fact, both our positive and negative emotions derive from our projections onto others since we mold ourselves through our interactions with others and vice versa.

When we project ourselves onto people we don't respect, we risk lowering our standards. On the other hand, when we engage with people we respect, we tend to raise our standards through reciprocal admiration.

8.     Ignore the bullies

When we are bold in what we believe and what we stand for, we often encounter grumpy critics who call us troublemakers, or even unhinged. This is inevitable; however, the ridicule we receive from others often says more about them than it does about us.

Final thoughts

In the end, striving for excellence means living life to its fullest, making a significant impact on those around us, and committing ourselves to evolve into the best version of ourselves, one step at a time, day after day.

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