Excellence is a Habit!

by Krantcents · 22 comments

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Excellence is a talent or quality which is unusually good and surpasses ordinary standards.  According to Aristotle, “we are what we repeatedly do.  Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit.”  Old habits are hard to break and new habits are difficult to form.  Habits can either benefit or hurt the goals you set for yourself.  How are your habits?  Do they help you reach your goals?

Habits are routines of behavior that are repeated regularly and tend to occur subconsciously.  Excellence may be a habit, but you have to work at it!  Excellence needs practice.  In sports, music, professions and academics, you need to practice to achieve excellence.  It takes years to achieve excellence and a lot of practice.  In sports, Olympic or professional levels define excellence.   Music or academics requires years of practice to achieve excellence.

Road to Excellence

Formation – How do you form a habit?  It should be easy, you just do something for twenty-one days (21) days straight and it is a habit.  If it were truly that easy, all of us would be excellent.  To form excellent habits, you have to find excellence and repeat it.  Look for people around you who do excellent work and you will notice something about them.  Successful people do the right thing every time.  Do what they do repeatedly until it becomes a habit.

Practice – If you every played basketball, you know you did not start out shooting the ball like Michael Jordan.  Michael Jordan did not start out like Michael Jordan.  He was cut from his high school (varsity) basketball team in his sophomore year.  In other words, he spent some more time on the junior varsity.  He needed some more seasoning or practice.  Of course, we know he came back and became the greatest basketball player of all time.  He practiced after practice and worked harder than anyone else to become excellent.

Preparation – Practice is not enough!  You have to compete with the best people you can find in your organization.  It could be a team sport, famous musician or just someone who you want to emulate.  How do you know when you are excellent?  In other words, when do you know you achieved excellence?  It takes a long time; some may say it takes 10,000 hours or years.  It takes years of practice and preparation for the big game.

Motivation – You have to be a self starter!  Your boss may demand excellence, but you have to do the work to make it happen.  It starts a long time ago when you were young.  You excel in school, sports or extra-curricular activities.  Somewhere you learned what it took to be excellent at something and you continue to do it.  You learned to give your all to something and saw the reward of hard work.  Take that motivation to everything you do!

It is hard to develop habits of excellence if you never experienced it.  Successful people control their circumstances while others do not.  Do you accept your circumstances or plan, practice and do something great with your life?  If people like Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods will practice until they are great, you can too.  Form habits and practice until you achieve excellence.

Final Thoughts

Achieving excellence requires action!  You have to form or change habits to achieve excellence.  Practice until you form habits that you can rely on to achieve excellence.  You have to challenge yourself to reach to new levels by competing with other excellent performers.  This takes self motivation and reflecting on your performance to reach for new heights.  Excellence is a habit not a single act!

Photo by:  Jimmy Benson


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Excellence is a habit not a single act!

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Jonathan October 25, 2012 at 5:42 am

Practice is definitely extremely important when it comes to excellence.

I remember my piano teacher always telling me that practice doesn’t make perfect; although, it does make you an excellent pianist.

Krantcents October 25, 2012 at 6:56 am

Practicing everything makes you better! Piano, sports, academics, work, profession, relationships etc.

Dylann Andre October 25, 2012 at 8:45 am

You are totally right! When I was younger, I tried out for the basketball team, my teammates are always laughing at me because I’m not good. I kept practicing and didn’t mind them, until one day the coach noticed my potential. I soon became one of the best in the team and later became the captain. I owe it all to my love for the sport, it kept me motivated!

Krantcents October 25, 2012 at 4:55 pm

Excellence takes practice and you certainly benefited from that. I wish more people would learn this little secret.

Marie at FamilyMoneyValues October 25, 2012 at 12:38 pm

You have captured many important points. However, I don’t agree that ‘successful people do the right thing every time’. They might not do the ‘right’ thing, but they are able to take what they do in a direction that enables success – ie they turn failure into success. I do agree that it is great to look around, emulate success and use a mentor!

Krantcents October 25, 2012 at 5:02 pm

Doing the right thing is based on personal values. Turning failure into success should be a given, but it turns out to be uncommon.

Barbara Friedberg October 25, 2012 at 3:01 pm

Hi Krantc, I beg to differ. Sometimes excellence is important. Sometimes just doing your best and persisting is enough. If you worry about excellence in everything, you may hamper your productivity.

Krantcents October 25, 2012 at 5:04 pm

For me, excellence should be a goal. Not everything requires excellence, but practicing will lead to excellence.

Brick By Brick Investing | Marvin October 25, 2012 at 4:41 pm

Forming a habit is probably one of the most important things a person can do if they look to be successful or master something. I like your idea of doing something for 21 days straight. I would go further and say if you can’t do something for 21 days straight then you probably shouldn’t continue that venture.

Krantcents October 25, 2012 at 5:07 pm

21 days is the minimum to create or break a habit. Anything worthwhile requires a lot of practice.

Moneycone October 26, 2012 at 4:54 am

Gem of an article KC! Really enjoyed it!

Krantcents October 26, 2012 at 6:48 am

Thanks, we often work toward goals, but rarely think about working on our skills.

AverageJoe October 26, 2012 at 2:03 pm

Looking through this, you know what sticks out as the biggest roadblock? 21 days. I think for me remembering that it’s just 21 short days to a habit is the hardest part. Funny that it’s that simple.

Krantcents October 26, 2012 at 3:53 pm

Funny, I never thought of it that way. I see it as it only takes 21 days to make or break a habit!

maria@moneyprinciple October 26, 2012 at 2:33 pm

Good evening, Krant. You made me think! I would agree that excellence is a habit – practice makes perfect. However, whilst there is a place for excellence in live, I am much more keen on outliers. Excellence is a relative category that exists only in relation to the norm. How about being extraordinary, not simply excellent? I’ve always gone with that.

Krantcents October 26, 2012 at 3:56 pm

I always thought of being my best! My best effort is always good enough, because I am extraordinary. LOL! It is a matter of perspective, I think. I tyhink the way I approach problems is definitely extraordinary because I am usually successful where others are not. I never accept no! I think it is up to the individual!

Liquid October 28, 2012 at 2:39 am

Thoughtful topic. Hard work always pays off. I’m trying to strive the best for my financial goals. I think something else that can go side-by-side with practice is persistence. It’s about not giving up even after we’ve failed. I believe if we line up our habits with our goals then the rest will take care of itself. First we must make our habits, and then our habits will make us :D

Krantcents October 28, 2012 at 7:02 am

I may take my other habits for granted because it is just there. I constantly strive for excellence because it takes a more conscientious effort. I can easily be satisfied with “good enough” because it is better than others.

Kim@Eyesonthedollar October 28, 2012 at 7:47 pm

I tend to agree with you. I used to expect excellence in everything I did, but after a while, you have to pick one of two things to be excellent at and not be so hard on yourself. If I can be an excellent Mom and excellent at work, I don’t mind if I’m a mediocre at public speaking or cooking. I’m sure there are some who excell at everything, but I think I’ve given that up.

Krantcents October 29, 2012 at 6:46 am

I try to make my best effort every day. Is that excellence, I do not know? I do not think I can be excellent at everything.

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