This is the third article in a personal excellence series. The first article is Personal excellence, the to success and the second article is 7 effective habits for achieving personal excellence.
This article shows you how to practice excellence in your life. Until this moment, it must be clear that excellence is not only limited to achieve the best in your career, but a way of achieving greatness in all areas of your life. That includes career, relationships, finance, spiritual growth, and many others.
Excellence aims at growth, which means achieving greatness even in minor things in your life. That is the best way to towards better and bigger results. The beauty of excellence is that, if you practice it in one area of your life, eventually your whole life improves. It’s more like inflating a balloon. The air freely spreads around the grows the whole balloon, and not only a portion of it.
Remember that, excellence is the way of thinking while taking action, so that your effective mind gives you the best out of your efforts. Excellence is contagious, not only to yourself, but also those around you – it is the best way to inspire others.
I believe if you can diligently accomplish your duties with the best possible efforts, you can succeed at any calling. Success is a mindset. You merely succeed by just doing the necessary. You succeed by how you do it.
“Getting rich is not due to doing things which others fail to do, for two people in the same business often do almost exactly the same things, and one gets rich while the other remains poor or becomes bankrupt. From all these things, we must come to the conclusion that getting rich is the result of doing things in a certain way.” Wallace D. Wattles, The Science of Getting Rich.
To move towards excellence, you must first build the right mindset. Your mind works best with patterns, otherwise it becomes inefficient. To create patterns, your mind learns from new things you face every day by relating to what you already know. Everything you do is a pattern you created some time ago. To build the right pattern for excellence, you must give your best in everything you undertake. In doing so,your mind replaces unproductive with productive patterns to brings excellent results out of everything you do.
I am sure you are practicing excellence anyway. If you ever did your best to accomplish anything and felt proud of the outcomes, no matter how trivial, then you practiced excellence. However, to get the most out of it, you have to scale it up and intentionally apply it in all aspects of your life. In doing so, you instigate changes towards the better and ideal you, and that my friend is practicing personal excellence.
How to practice excellence in your life
1. Believe in yourself
“It’s the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.” – Muhammad Ali
Belief is core and an indispensable factor to achieve excellence. If you cannot believe in yourself, the journey will be challenging towards achieving your aim. Belief is the small engine that pushes you towards action when you can’t even see the light at the end of the tunnel. It is like taking simple steps through the darkest alley and counting only on your instincts. That always works, because life is that darkest alley we go through every day.
Beliefs are important. It is how the mind works; they simplify life in a big way. The problem arises when the belief is not helping but hurting you.
Beliefs are of two kinds, empowering and limiting beliefs.
- Empowering Belief is that Inner voice that says, “You can do it” while your body feels otherwise. Follow the inner voice – clarify your convictions on goals, and evaluate what life means to you.
- Limiting belief, like the name suggests, hinders you from doing the right action. If you hold contradicting beliefs pertaining to your desires, you must work to eliminate it. Otherwise, you are heading for the failure before you even start.
To practice beliefs towards excellence,
- Be clear on what you want. Take time and analyze your beliefs pertaining to your desires. If you hold beliefs that support your desires, that becomes a fuel towards success; otherwise, prepare to face huge challenges and even dismal failures.
- Believe in your abilities. Start by believe in your talents – and everyone has so many. Believe in your accomplishments – just observe and appreciate your efforts. Believe in your desires – then you will acquire them. Believe in your efforts – that gives you energy to persist.
- Believe that you can have whatever you want and nothing can stop you. If you want to move to a career, believe you can do it. If you want to accomplish a goal, believe you can do it. Remember that, before your desire comes to the physical realm it must manifest in your mind.
2. Improve self-discipline
In reading the lives of great men, I found that the first victory they won was over themselves… self-discipline with all of them came first.- Harry S. Truman
Excellence is a continuous journey towards greatness. It is not a destination. You define what you want to achieve and work towards it on daily basis.
You have to understand that your level of self-discipline seldom stays the same but fluctuates depending on how much you exercise it. It’s like a muscle, if you don’t work out, it weakens. If your discipline is weaker, you must improve it.
When you practice a habit long enough, it becomes subconscious and goes unnoticed. If such a habit is bad, then you are headed for misery, and you may call it fate. You won’t be aware that you are the source of the problem. How do you know which habits are in control? The article 7 Effective Habits for Achieving Personal Excellence covers on how to discover if you are on good or bad habits.
“Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” – Aristotle
To get more practical, analyze the following key areas and see how you fair.
- Goal setting
“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.” -Tony Robbins
Goals are certainly the best ways to lead your life. To best align your desires with your daily routine, have the ability to set goals on daily basis.
- Set clear goals on what you want to achieve
- Plan your day and week ahead of time as explained here
- Plan milestones to evaluate your achievements
When you practice the habit of daily goal setting, you build a pattern of focusing on your desires, which makes your mind more efficient in looking for ways to achieve them. If you combine this method with gratitude, your life will be better of.
Goals are necessary to rid your mind with distractions such as worry, scarcity, fear and others. When you define clear goals, every day is an opportunity to achieve more than you ever expected. It is the challenges that make life more interesting; otherwise, it becomes another boring mess.
- Hard work
“The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand.” – Vince Lombardi
Excellence is the art of living a full life by giving your best efforts to ensure the best returns. Do what it takes to gain the spirit of hard work. Hard work is absolute necessity to achieve excellence.
- Carefully and diligently perform your duties to ensure efficiency
- Maximize your potential in a day’s work by putting your mind to it
- Employ the simplest possible means towards your goals. There is always a simple and more useful way to tackle a problem. That is how to give your best. However, simple doesn’t equal easy. Simple it better but easy cultivates indolence.
- Evaluate your performance and incorporate feedback to change your attitude towards your duties
Persistence is patience with continuous action. You may possess all the good qualities to achieve excellence, but the lack of persistence may totally disqualify you. To build the discipline to achieve your goals, you must persist.
“Patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success.” – Napoleon Hill
- Follow through each goal to the end
- Set to achieve a meaningful goal. Set milestones, evaluate yourself, and improve on your ways to tackle it. Most importantly, make sure you finish it.
- Purge all the limiting beliefs pertaining to your desires.
- Avoid starting too many tasks at once. Focus on one major idea at once, stick to it until the end.
As I said earlier, this is about building patterns. Once you give up on a goal or desire, you enforce that pattern in your mind and you are likely to repeat in the future. Avoid giving up on your desires. Persist until you get results. In the process, your mind creates patterns and learns that anything is possible if you persist.
3. Decide what you want to achieve
You are capable of achieving anything, if you know exactly what you want. For instance, if your goal is to improve your productivity at work, then decide now and take simple steps towards your goal. That is how to build the pattern and adopt to the habit.
If you want to raise your productivity from nothing to 8 hours a day for the entire week, start with simple steps and build the pattern. If such pattern of productivity doesn’t exist in your mind, you’ll never do it efficiently. Here is what to do:
- Take babe steps
Set aside 1 hour to concentrate and finish a task efficiently. If that’s too much, scale it down to your level. Avoid overwhelming yourself. The mind detests pain and loves taking things in a more natural fashion, at its own pace.
- Stick with that choice for a while, may be three to four days to habituate your mind.
- When you are comfortable, upgrade it to 1 hour and 30 min or even 2 hours. Stick with it for a while; let your mind absorb the change.
- Successively increment the time towards your goal.
- Constantly evaluate your performance. Feedback is important towards efficient outcomes. Eliminate weakness and build strength whenever necessary.
In this process, you replace ineffective habits with effective habits. The process is more natural to you and the mind. Your mind creates new patterns, eventually, you don’t strain to perform as productivity becomes your second nature.
4. Practice thinking as a routine
In the book Your Inner Child Is Calling, I insist on thinking as a way to solve your life’s problems. You hardly get to the root of your problems without thinking about it. This is because:
- Thinking stimulates your subconscious mind. That aligns your conscious and subconscious thoughts to work together in harmony to solve a common problem. That is how you figure out any problem in your life.
- Thinking is the best way to complete tasks with absolute efficiency. If your thoughts and actions align while you work, you always give your best and get impeccable results. That is what excellence is about.
To do that,
- Spend 30 to 60 minutes a day in solitude, and think. Think of your life. Think of your day – how could it have been improved? What needed to change? Take this time as necessary to ponder on your life.
- Fix your schedule at the same time every day, so that your mind creates a pattern that is not easy to break.
- Be flexible in your thinking. Explore more options and possibilities towards your challenges and desires.
- Read something new regularly. Make it a habit to read every day and cut time on watching TV.
The mind that doesn’t think, stagnates. A mind is made to think, if you don’t give it good thoughts to ponder upon, it thinks of anything but productive thoughts. Effective habits require a lot of energy and concentration. The mind, to be efficient, defaults on power saving mode. To avoid losing a lot of energy, it avoids productive thoughts and regularly ponders on trivial thoughts.
We all think, but everyone chooses what to prioritize. If you dwell on scarcity, lack, poverty, and wants, that’s well and good because you get that in the end. If you ponder on prosperity, success, and achievements, that is what you get also.
It was simply stipulated in the Proverbs 23:7 “For as a man thinks in his heart, so is he”. Literally, where your mind goes, your life follows.
5. Improve your skills
“The secret of joy in work is contained in one word-excellence. To know how to do something well is to enjoy it.” – Pearl S. Buck
You hardly qualify to achieve the best with only rudimentary skills in any calling. To thrive, you must improve your skills. That way, you meet your duties and get best results from you best efforts. Everyone wants to be an expert in their own calling, that’s human nature. We love greatness. We admire excellence. Imagine how proud you become when your skills are recognized. You feel more vivacious and your self-esteem rise. That shows how important skills are.
To acquire the necessary skills,
- Learn something new about your career. Keep in touch with the current trends in the area of your expertise.
- Upgrade your skills whenever necessary.
i. Go for professional training.
ii. Attend seminars.
iii. Ensure that you have the latest tools possible at your disposal. The current world is fast and requires speed but no hurry. If you upgrade yourself, you will end up using less efforts to produce better results.
- Imitate how your idols do things. If you observe and copy how great people perform things, you are likely to improve yourself.
- Join groups or forums that have experts on your line of career or even diverse field that have something in common with what you do. Learn how others do to succeed. Then, transfer and translate that to your own area of expertise. Knowledge opens doors to a lot more opportunities in the world.
6. Practice gratitude
“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.” ― Epicurus
I am yet to find anything that surpasses gratitude in keeping your thoughts in alignment with your desires. Gratitude is simply heavenly. It is a way you tune your mind to focus on possibilities and hopes of attaining your desires. Your mind then gives you the right ways towards your desires. Did you know that if you are so grateful you could hardly spend a bad day? Gratitude is the best medication for your mood swings and unexpected turn of events.
- Be grateful for the life you live
- Be grateful for the family, they are source of your happiness and hope in life
- Be grateful for your friends, for being your best companions
- Be genuinely grateful when someone offers you their help
- Be grateful for your happiness. That is what makes you wake up looking forward to a brighter day
- Be grateful for challenges that make you grow.
The list of gratitude is endless. Be grateful for everything in your life. It takes around 10 to 15 minutes to notice what you are greatful for, but the energy it brings takes you through the rest of the 24 hours in the day. Would you lose your day over these 15 minutes? I bet not.
- Write down your gratitudes in the morning before you start the day. It will fill your mind with energy to go through the day
- Write down your gratitudes at night before you retire to bed. That way, you will give your mind something to ponder upon and wake up in a happier mood.
Your subconscious mind works best in the absence of the supervision of the conscious mind. That means, if you count your blessings before going to bed, you are likely to wake up in a good mood to start the day.
7. No Comfort Zone
“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”- Neale Donald Walsch
Comfort zone is a prison that enslaves your mind. The virtual barriers become stronger with time, and without deliberate efforts, you may never grow to as you are supposed to. The more uncomfortable you get doing something new, the more you grow. Pain instigates change and growth.
- Stay away from people who always say yes and pet your back, even when you are wrong. There is no positive growth there.
- Face challenges with the best of your abilities. Thatis how you notice the best opportunities the world offers. With each challenge you face, the stronger you become, and the more aware you are.
- Practice something new every day, no matter how small or trivial.
- Get to conversations with total strangers.
- Opt to volunteer at a service that does not relate to your career.
- Visit new places and explore culture.
- Start a business on area of your choosing.
- Cut down time for watching TV, surf the web. Read books instead.
- Leave your car for a week and commute with the public transport.
- Confront your worst fear – try to do something that you never expected in your life, just for exercise.
Learning something new, visiting a strange place, or practicing new skills, puts your mind on learning mode. That way, it quickly absorbs and adopts to situations. I always find it useful doing new things regularly.
I love exploring on psychology and philosophy. That brings many fresh and practical ideas about life. With such knowledge, I change habits towards what I find appropriate for me. Excellence is about experimenting towards improving yourself in all areas.
8. Take full responsibility of your life
You are responsible for everything that goes on in your life. To lead the path to a better life, avoid taking easy ways out of problem and challenges. Avoiding growth retards your progress. Challenges come with blessings; unveil what blessings come in disguise.
To be responsible,
- Silence the Negative Inner Voice
- Beware of what you hold in your mind. Do you have that little voice that says negative things? Then, change it to something positive and empowering.
- Do you have limiting beliefs pertaining to any situation in life? Then, work to eliminate it. That way, you will be free from all kinds of negative thinking.
Being optimistic doesn’t mean running away from challenges. It simply means facing challenges with a positive attitude.
- No Excuses
Don’t look for excuses when facing a challenge or adverse outcome of a situation. That’s not helping. Be responsible. Accept criticism and analyze the situation. Learn before you make excuses, because you are responsible for everything in your life.
- Stop Blaming
Do you see others as the source of your misery? Do you blame others for not being helpful enough? If you do, then change it. Your mind, if acquainted to such thinking, will literally end up thinking you are the victim of circumstances. Take full responsibility of everything in your life and stop looking or scapegoats.
I visualize the world that everyone has plenty. I picture the world that people are efficient and achieve their dreams with certainty, the world that people share empowering ideas towards the collective progress. As I contemplate, I see no better way to get there than personal excellence.
With personal excellence, you build a solid foundation on what works and what doesn’t. You recognize your strengths and weaknesses. Self-awareness is crucial to determine your path through life. It helps you channel your strength in doing what you are capable for the best results. Only then, you can live a full life.
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