We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then is not an act, but a habit. Aristotle
Just passing through a notebook of collected quotes. I started it around the time we carried our lives around in a Filofax and not on our cell phones and it has sat on a shelf for years, in a magazine holder, with other similar notebooks, and I’ve pulled it out from time to time.
Of course, I wasn’t so organized that I catalogued them all under categories; there was no such thing as tagging or clouds or memes. It was also in the day when you could be pretty confident that if the quote said, Aristotle, it was, indeed, from Aristotle. And, it was in the day when this little notebook was “printed and published in the USA” and “assembled in Mexico.” The early days of outsourcing.
Excellence is a habit. The repetition, over time, of a behaviour. Mediocrity is also a habit. Certain behaviours, repeated over time created unpleasant outcomes, too. Darren Hardy talks about this, too, in The Compound Effect, but it’s not, clearly, a new idea.
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Lao-tzu.
And a teacher of mine, Martin Muller, used to say:
If you’re sitting down, you have no choice. If you get up and take a step, you can always change direction.
Actually, THAT quote has been one of the keys to conscious change in my life… but that’s another post, I think!
The thing is, you just need to shift your walk, your vision, your thinking, your behaviour by a weeee little bit and stay on that course, repeat the behaviour daily, and over time, you achieve….excellence or mediocrity.
Will you add just that weeee little bit more effort to:
- make the meal look spectacular
- clean that last little corner
- walk those extra 100 steps
- stand that little bit taller
And if you’re not quite up to excellence will you do a very simple thing:
- get off the couch, walk out the door and walk to the end of the driveway and back
- put just a little LESS food on your plate… just for today
- take 3 seconds to put the spoon in the dishwasher
- bend down and pull up just 3 weeds
Sometimes this is all I can manage. Today, for instance, is my day to drive 65 km into the city and work out. I have a goal to go to Good Life 3 times a week and go through the machines. Sometimes I have to cajole myself. Sometimes I have to give myself a stern talking to. But I’m going.
Aristotle, I don’t know what happened that brought you to understand the power of habit 2300 years ago. The quote has stuck, as you can see. We’re still working on getting it. We become what we surround ourselves with. I’m off to the gym. Your words will ring on as I do battle with the little voices inside me that push me to exercise and pull me to… well, not exercise.
Have a good one!