The Herald Bulletin

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May 11, 2014

Jesse Wilkerson: How do we establish a standard of excellence?

Greek philosopher and scientist Aristotle is noted for saying, “Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”

Excellence is the state at which we are good at something, really good. It is a point when we are not only recognized as good, but great and/or outstanding. When was the last time you were outstanding at anything? My last brush with excellence was defeating an opponent ranked much higher than me in a game of chess three times.

Excellence is a reflection of training, commitment, devotion, and desire. How do you and I develop a standard of excellence on our jobs, in relationships, or even in our schools? We start by the habitual practice of being great.

Most of us are competitive by nature. Everyone wants to win. Our focus changes over our lifetime as we realize what areas we are gifted in and we aim to improve on God-given talents or areas of personal interest. Not everyone is an athlete. Try as they may the physical makeup to compete and excel just isn’t there. Not everyone is gifted at understanding algorithms. To devote endless hours to study and education might improve one’s ability, but the learning curve may exceed a personal time line to achieve excellence.

To establish a standard of excellence in anything, you have to establish a goal, not a dream. A goal has a deadline. Then you practice. You devote everything to perfecting your goal and achieving success. Think about the people in as many industries as can come to mind. Who stands out as great? Their success is directly related to their pursuit of excellence. They are the best in service, provide the best product, best in performance, or are most notable for what they do because they do it with excellence.

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