This is a guest post by my friend Zeenat Merchant-Syal, @zeenatsyal.
Aren’t we all craving for success?
In whatever endeavor we take up success is what we are after. Be it a project or a job. Be it as small a task as completing a good book. We always want to be successful at the task in hand and in the broader perspective in life. Success in life.
But, What does Success really mean?
Is it the mere completion of a task at hand or the positive completion of the task at hand?
Whatever your definition of success is, whether its the smaller successes like learning a new language or quitting alcohol OR the bigger successes like landing a major project or finding the love of your life..what happens when you have attained that Success?? What happens when there are no more goals left, when you are where you want to be?
If you are a hardworking person success WILL come to you. There is no doubt about that. But on the road to attaining that success have you been truly losing out on whats most important-Excellence.
Now you may wonder What does excellence have anything at all to do with Success?
When you you’re working hard to attain these successes you often learn new things along the way. Like a new language, like learning to be more patient, be more persistent, be more focused. You have learned a wealth of information while attaining these successes. But, once these successes have been reached to full completion you tend to forget about all you learned on the way and jump onto the next success you’ve been eying! Those lessons you learned are adding to Your Excellence.
What is success without excellence? Its like a person having all the riches in the world, but not knowing how to use it. Its like having a beautiful chocolate cake right in front of you and then not knowing what to do of it…Eat it gorge it or savor it or just let it be!
Excellence comes with much the same things as what success comes with-persistence, hard work, focus…
But Successful Excellence comes with Passion. A passion to learn and to retain that knowledge. That adds to your successful excellence. You will have wealth of knowledge and know exactly how to use it and when to use it. But, only if you focus on YOUR EXCELLENCE rather than focus on just success.
Successes will come and go in time, but excellence will remain with you always. Even when you’re old and don’t have anymore successes to run after, this very Excellence will show you the way to live well.
Rather than focusing on just success why not focus on successful excellence? You have nothing to lose. In fact everything to gain.
Think of it this way- With success you don’t necessarily get excellence. But, with Excellence Success is INEVITABLE! These are changing times. Yet in the middle of all the changes there is one thing that constantly determines success. Some call it leadership. But to my mind, it is the single-minded pursuit of successful excellence.
Successful Excellence endures and sustains. It goes beyond motivation into the realms of inspiration. Successful Excellence can be as strong a uniting force as solid vision.
Successful Excellence does not happen in a vacuum. It needs a collective obsession as I have experienced the benefits of excellence in my own life. Successful Excellence is a great starting point for any new venture or new beginning but also an unending journey.
What is Successful excellence?
It is about going a little beyond what we expect from ourselves.
The main driver of excellence is internal. I have found that excellence is not so much a battle you fight with others, but a battle you fight with yourself, by constantly raising the bar and stretching yourself. This is the best and the most satisfying and challenging part about successful excellence.
How does one create successful excellence in life?
First, we create an obsession with excellence. We must dream of it not only because it delivers better results but because we truly believe in it and find it intrinsically satisfying to us.
We must think of excellence not only with our mind but also with our heart and soul.
Second, we need to build a collective self-confidence. People who pursue successful excellence are self-confident. This is because successful excellence requires tremendous faith in one’s ability to do more and in a better way. Unless, we believe we can do better, we cannot!
Third, we must understand the difference between perfection for its own sake and successful excellence. Time is of essence. This may seem like a paradox: should we aim for excellence or should we aim for speed?
Excellence is about doing the best we can and speed lies in doing it quickly. These two concepts are not opposed to each other; in fact, speed and timeliness are important elements of successful excellence.A balance is required.
Fourth, we must realize that we cannot be the best in everything we do. We must define what we are or would like to be best at and what someone else can do better.
Successful Excellence is NOT about being the best. It is about being the best in what we are good at. We have to define what our own core competencies are and what we can let others do. Share the responsibility… Headaches shared are headaches divided.
Fifth, invest in successful excellence for the future. Future always seems to be at a distance. But it comes upon you so suddenly that it catches you by surprise, if not shock. What constitutes excellence in the future will be significantly different from what it is today. In these days of severe pressures, there is big temptation to sacrifice the future to look good in the present.
Finally, successful excellence requires belief and humility. This is especially needed when we feel we have reached the peak of excellence and there is nothing further we can do. We need an open mind to look at things in a different way and allow new ideas to come in.
Otherwise, there is a real danger of becoming complacent or even downright arrogant. I would like to end this post with a story that illustrates this very well.
Story-A brilliant young professor went to meet a famous Zen master to have a discussion with him on Zen. He found himself in front of a modest house. He rang the doorbell and waited. A while later, he heard shuffling footsteps and the door was opened by the Zen master.
He invited the professor to sit with him on the dining table. The professor was a little disappointed with the shabby appearance of the Zen master. He started quizzing him immediately on comparative philosophies and the Zen master gave some brief answers.
When the professor began to debate with him on those answers, the Zen master stopped speaking and kept smiling at him. Finally, the professor got angry. He said, “I have come from a long distance just to understand the relevance of Zenism. But apparently you have nothing to say. I have not learnt anything from you at all.”
At this point, the Zen master asked the professor to have some tea. When the professor held the cup, the Zen master started pouring tea into it. After some time, the tea started spilling and the professor shouted, “Stop! The cup can contain no more.”
The Zen Master stopped and then, once again smiling, he said, “A mind, full of itself can receive nothing. How can I speak to you of Zenism until you empty your mind to learn.” The professor understood and apologized to the Zen master. He parted from him, the Zen master — a wiser man.
Author Bio: Zeenat Merchant Syal is a Practicing Counseling Psychologist/Spiritual Counselor/Motivational Speaker/Naturopath with degrees in Motivational and Counseling Psychology. She also holds degrees in various fields of Holistic and Naturopathic Medicine. She blogs at “Positive Provocations” Be sure to subscribe to her posts by RSS.