Monday, February 28, 2011
My Relentless Pursuit Of Excellence
I've always been one to excel if I set my mind to it. It's a quality that I guess came from my upbringing, then my own personal dogged determination that it cannot be otherwise. If I set a goal, then, by God, I'm going to achieve it.
Would you say I have personal confidence? Yes, I have personal confidence and lots of it!
Tonight, right this minute, as I think on these things -- looking back over my life as it's been and ahead as I believe it will be -- I'm actually quite psyched. It's a peak experience, although of course I'm used to those. Still, being one to ever pursue excellence, every peak experience is still a real kick.
I will confess sometimes I'm down. I was down just yesterday. It was raining, I'd had had a major tiff with a friend, then we went out for buffalo wings and everything turned around. Not only were we fairly cordial, but a couple guys came in drunk and were refused service. They put up something of a stink and that gave us something to smile about and discuss. We even shared a nice personal moment with the waiter. And everything was good again.
Excellence is like that, it's never far away. That's one of the reasons I'm generally so optimistic, because the wheel's always going to be turning my way sooner or later.
Now, in what areas of my life do I see excellence. In virtually every area! But to be specific, if I had to narrow it down to a few of my favorite areas, I would mention my intellect. Am I the smartest guy in the world, the country, the state, the county, or even my block? No, I'll admit it, I'm probably not. But if there's ever anything I need to know, I know how to look it up. Or if it's something that I can't look up, like a tough math problem (and I face very few of those), I'm smart enough just to move on and forget it.
I was also at the library yesterday, after the chicken wings. It gave me time to take a few books off the shelf and look through them. Doing so I was able reflect that I was smart enough to read some things that interested me. And I went away -- like it or not -- with a few more facts in my mind than I went in with. And given enough time, I'd be able to tell you exactly what they were.
Another area of excellence that I'm proud of is my ability to be on good terms with others. Let's say I see you somewhere, I'll go, "Hey!", like I'm really glad to see you, and maybe I am. Or a waiter speaks to me and I'm as friendly as can be, especially if it's something juicy, like a couple of drunks. Or if I see someone at the store, someone at church, wherever. I see folks in church and I'm a very nice guy. Maybe I don't go out of my way to greet everyone, and maybe I'd just as soon stick to myself and greet no one (at times), but when push comes to shove I paste a big old smile on my face and appear to be very pleasant.
Then of course it goes without saying, I pursue excellence on this blog. It's my life (touching my heart). My readers are rock solid, the best people on earth, and I want to give them my best everyday. (By the way, I went to a CD store where they have a sign on the door, "Through these doors enter the best people on earth, our customers." But then they have empty cases in the racks and the CDs behind the counters. Who knew the "best people on earth" were thieves?)
As for me and this blog, I get up every morning, do the things that make for a morning, as for anyone, then I do something different. I have a little one man editorial board meeting. I call the meeting to order, then brainstorm some ideas for the day's blog. The idea phase is usually done by 10:00, taking an hour. Then I chart it out, some preliminary sketching of an outline between 10 and 11. Between 11 and noon, it's a matter of hammering out some definite paragraphs, like the first and second ones, just so I can see how the flow's likely to go. At noon, I break for lunch. Then the afternoon is spent in deep prayer, interrupted only by any witticisms that occur to me. I choose a graphic and work on it if I need to. Then I knock off till around 7 p.m., when I get the blog entry written and posted. That's the pursuit of excellence, and it pays off! I think all told I've made $101 from Google ads in the last three years.
The pursuit of excellence has always been one of the marks of my life. They taught it to me growing up, and I kept the lessons fresh, uppermost in my mind, all the way up to this very day ... and beyond!
You too can look for and achieve excellence. Just take me as an example and do your best to pattern your life after me. You may not succeed all at once; few people do. But if you stick to it, and if you don't give up easily, the victory will be yours. Excellence will be the mark of your life as well!