One day a young man was visiting a monastery when he came across a monk who was carving a piece of a trunk to make a statue depicting Buddha.
The stranger noticed an exact copy of Buddha’s statue lying nearby.
Puzzled, he asked the monk: "Why do you need two of them when you have room enough for just one?"
"I do not need two statues, but I accidentally damaged the first one", the monk replied.
The man examined it from the bottom up and couldn’t find any fault.
"Where is the damage?" he asked.
"There is a scratch at the back”, the monk replied.
"Why have you made another one, after all the statue is going to be installed with the back against the wall and nobody would know about it, right”?
The monk stopped working on the statue, and with a smile on his face replied: "I know it and for me it’s unacceptable, I always do my best in everything I do.
You see, my friend, the desire to excel is exclusive of the fact whether someone else knows it or not”.
The young man learned the lesson, i.e. you must always strive for excellence in everything you do no matter whether people notice it or not!
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
The takeaway from this short, but enlightening story is:
Excellence is a driven force that must come from inside, not from outside.
The pursuit of excellence is ultimately for our own satisfaction and not to show off!
Nowadays most people look for appreciation and approval from others, however, this should not be the driver that motivates us to do our best.
“Climb the mountain so you can see the world, not so the world can see you”. – David McCullough Jr.
Do you want to be excellent?
If so, do not do your best only when there are people around you.
Do it every time, above all when you are alone so that you can develop an excellence-driven mindset and build your new self.
When you wake up an hour earlier instead of sleeping in, when you make your bed, when you are the first one to arrive at work and the last to leave...you are training and developing the attitude to excel in everything you do.
In a nutshell, excellence requires sweating the small stuff!
Remember: A jigsaw puzzle is composed of nothing more than tiny pieces.
Excellence is a sum of tiny steps forward taken over and over again, exactly in the same way as a jigsaw puzzle is assembled by putting tiny pieces together one after another.
From today onward excellence must be the trait that distinguishes everything you do, no matter how insignificant it is.
Remember: how you do anything is how you do everything!
Wake up every morning with the following conscious intention: “I am going to do my best in everything I do”!
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit”. - Will Durant
You have to establish this habit by striving for excellence repeatedly until suddenly it becomes part of your identity.
You see, the degree of your success in life is directly proportional to your propensity for excellence.
Why settle down and be average when we are meant to be excellent?
I want you to ask yourself: “What am I missing in life by playing small, by being average?
I want you to realize that you can change your life and be excellent today by choosing to!
By choosing excellence you are taking complete responsibility for your future.
You shift from behaving like a victim, i.e. blaming everyone and everything for how unfair your life is, to becoming the creator of it.
You ingrain in your mind, heart, and soul that you are the only one responsible for your success in life, and that’s powerful.
You take complete ownership of what your life is going to be like.
Just be the best you can every day and keep moving forward, and you will be amazed about how your life will be like.
You have to be honest with yourself and if you are not satisfied with your life the only way you can make a change and improve it is by showing up differently, i.e. stopping to play small and doing your best in everything you do.
Strive for excellence in everything you do, do not cut corners, do not take shortcuts, and do not settle for anything else, because you, like me, and everyone else, are meant to aim for excellence.
“It is the most powerful thing you can do for yourself. Because the process of striving, and struggling, and pushing yourself to new heights - see, that's how you develop your God-given talent. That's how you make yourself stronger, and smarter, and more able to make a difference for others”. - Michelle Obama at Jackson State University's Spring 2016
When you choose excellence you completely change the trajectory of your life.
My question to you is: Are you ready and willing to set yourself for excellence?
Are you ready to do your best even when you are alone, when nobody is witnessing how “great” you are?