I always remember an epitaph, which is in the cemetery at Tombstone, Arizona. It says: ‘Here lies Jack Williams. He done his damnedest.’ I think that is the greatest epitaph a man can have.
– Harry S Truman
Always strive for personal excellence in everything you do.
I meet a lot of people who suffer from the Luke Skywalker Syndrome before he met Master Yoda. There is a scene where Luke looses his cool because he feels like he is wasting his time talking to a little old green creature when he should be doing something important like finding Yoda. Yoda sighs and whispers seemingly to the air how Luke always has his mind somewhere else never on where he’s at, on what he is doing. In other words, his mind is never in the Now.
The trouble with daydreaming about the past or the future is that you miss the Now. And as we know, the Now is where everything happens.
Personal excellence can only be attained in the Now. When you are fully present in the Now you are able to draw upon the full resources of your mind, body, and spirit. Your efforts become effortless, and everything you do has clarity. In this state you can achieve anything you want.
When you allow yourself to mentally drift, your energy is pulled in too many directions at once. During the course of your day, you will have on average 70,000 thoughts. With all that noise going on in your head, you are bound to miss stuff…important stuff, the stuff that makes the difference between good enough and excellence.
Personal excellence requires a commitment to be fully engaged in what you are doing while you are doing it. Otherwise, why bother? It’s easy to say ‘ah this is just a small thing; it’s not that important.’ But in the pursuit of excellence, there are no ordinary moments. If you are careless with the little things, you are more likely to be careless with the big things.
It’s all about habits…habits of thoughts, habits of doing things. The old saying that practice makes perfect is only half the story. If you practice bad habits, you will indeed to perform that bad habit perfectly. So we have to change the line to read ‘perfect practice makes perfect.