The opposite of excellence is mediocrity. Occasionally, we find ourselves in such a “less than” state where a project didn’t get completed in time, a goal was missed, or we just didn’t show up on time if we ever showed up at all. Sometimes we have these one-off events where we missed the mark. And that is okay. Things happen.
For some, it is not only one time. Instead, it has become a habit, or an accumulation of multiple bad habits. And the results? These individuals have become the very opposite of excellence. Their less-than-desirable habits have led to a less-than-desirable way of living.
We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act, but a habit.Aristotle
There may be the occasional act of excellence. But for the mediocre, these acts are rare and may even come as a surprise to the actor and the audience. One-time acts, however, do not constitute an excellence of life. Excellence then goes beyond the occasional and moves into the rarified air of “always.” Not an act, but a habit.
How do we find excellence? We program it into our lives. We look at our bad habits and find ways to correct them. We pick desirable habits and then pursue them. It is consistent pursuit involving self-analysis, planning, and finally execution. It is walking a path of discipline. Not on the occasion, but continually. Everyday. This is where we find the freedom to excel, to become excellent.