The Weekly Dream: Consistent Excellence and Balance
“Excellence is a habit”
I love sports. However, basketball is my favorite because it is my metaphor for life: the fast pace, the need to make instantaneous change and adjustments, the hours of dedication and practice, and having to deal with victory and defeat simultaneously. But growing up, I was more curious as to what separated the good players from the average, the good from the great, and the great from the excellent. What separated the average from the good could be explained by sheer talent. The great distinguished themselves by adding work to the talent. Yet, what set the excellent apart?
If you were like me, you marveled at players like Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, and Dr. J. People who perform at the pinnacle of their field usually inspire awe because they seem to be perfectly integrated with their pursuits. They are so integrated that no one seemed to notice the sweat and effort they poured in to reach that journey. Highlight films are suited to show flashes of greatness, which gives the impression of just pure natural ability, but what is lost are all the missed shots, missed dunks, and bad decisions. What is lost is the process that birthed the result.
Excellence is denoted as superiority. This implies that you are the best internally and externally. That is not completely true. Success is really being the best. Excellence is being the best you can be. Excellence is really performing at an optimal level in every aspect of your life. It is when you match your practice with your potential. It is a personal standard. Success is more a condition while excellence is a state of being. Success is often talent driven while excellence is character driven. Excellence is process oriented, while success outcome oriented. Excellence is a lifestyle.
Because the two are often confused, people’s energies and motivations suffer. Do not get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with competition, it is a fact of life. But as any one will tell you, there are times where your best is not good enough. And just because you are successful does not mean you are excellent.
For example, there are people who are successful in their careers, but they are miserable in their personal life; or the student that gets the ‘A’, but did not really learn anything. One area is thriving at the expense of others. There is a lack of wholeness or integration. This is not true success. True success is an outgrowth of your own internal excellence. Excellence is the spirit of success. Therefore, we first need to define our pursuits. Are our efforts aimed at success or excellence?
Once that is done, we need to discover the process/journey/system to bring about our intent. The human body is nothing but the interactions of various systems performing processes designed to bring about a desired result. Nature has a process it follows. Everything works within the confines of a system, and that system brings about balance.
*Hopping on One Foot*
As you begin to discover and work your process, understand that excellence is inextricably linked to balance.
In the body, your ears and eyes must work together in order for you to walk. If you close your eyes and spin in a circle a few times, you will be off balance for a little while when you open your eyes again. The same occurs when your vision and understanding are not in alignment. Maintaining proper vision and understanding of your role is crucial in living a balance life.
One way to begin living a balance life is to do nourish your various components. Because I believe that the human body is comprised of mind, body and spirit, I try to not let a day go by in which I do not do something to enrich them. It takes tremendous discipline manage your day and to set aside the time to do this. However, this is what is necessary to maintain your mental, physical, and spiritual health.
This will also allow you to be more prepared and preparation breeds sensitivity, awareness and instinct. Great leaders eclipse the competition because they have a tremendous mental and spiritual edge that dwarfs their circumstances. They put in the time to exercise and expand these abilities so that they could remain cool in times of adversity.
*In the end*
If you look at any great person, you will see one common denominator that transcended success and worldly prestige, and that is love. It is the journey and its effect on you that makes life beautiful. Michael Jordan loved the game, so the journey was worth it. Michael Jordan’s love for the sport of basketball caused the world to sing “I want to be like Mike.” Love is contagious.
Excellence without genuine love is nothing more than a cheap impostor.
Let your light shine, and make it shine brighter everyday. It might help someone else see the way.
Truth and Peace,
Steven M. DeVougas
Question of the Week: What helps you achieve balance? How do you pursue
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