Tuesday, February 12, 2013

A Commitment to Excellence, A Commitment to More

A commitment to doing more is becoming more and more difficult for many.

It concerns me, because I work in an industry in which the standards are always increasing, not decreasing - yet so often the response is "Why do we have to do that?  It is more work."  The problem is, I see that becoming more and more of an issue not just within the work environment but outside of it as well, where anything which does not enterain falls into the category of "boring".

I know - potentially I sound like a grumpy oldster, reminiscing on those days of yore when we pounded rocks to make our own sand.  But I am also an observer of human nature, and think I have lived long enough (and certainly read enough) that I can begin to make some consclusions about cause and effect.

To succeed in anything is to do more.  It is to consciously move beyond the minimum of effort to reach a higher level.  The hackneyed phrase "There is no shortcut to excellence" is true.  It takes more than just what we are willing to do - it takes what we must do.

I'm sure that many understand this in the context of things they like to do.  Where they would disagree with me in the things they have to do:  the unpleasant tasks, the boring tasks, the tasks that we "must" do.  To these sorts of tasks, the thought too often is that "minimal is enough".  The fact that the thought is often echoed consciously or unconsciously by those above them who are more concerned with results rather than doing things correctly and completely only strengthens this opinion.

But where does this thought pattern lead, this thought of not doing more simply because we don't like it or it bores us?  We hate to consider that those who serve us would also have such an opinion - after all, our food should be fully cooked, our paint preparation fully mixed, our car to be completely fixed instead of partially fixed.  In every way that impacts our lives, we believe that we should be the focus of an effort of 100% completeness, every time - even if it takes doing more.

But if that is our expectation of others, why is that not the expectation of ourselves?

The reality that history and human experience demonstrates to us is this:  given long enough, a lack of doing more in even the most trivial of things becomes a habit.  Habits become lifestyles.  Lifestyles become the societal norm. But society is a complex mechanism involving thousands, perhaps even millions of smoothly working parts.  If enough of those parts become broken - if the individual wheels of effort are removed from their axles because it is too much effort to do them - then eventually the machine will break down - and the society colllapse.

Overstating the case?  Possibly.  But ask yourself this:  if the effort I sink into my most boring task is the same amount of effort that my mechanic sank in to fixing my brakes, would I drive my car?

Excellence is something that springs from a sincere life of effort - sine cera, without wax to hide the cracks in our plateware but as a whole which is complete and thorough.  We cannot pretend to separate effort in some parts of our lives from a lack of effort in other parts of our lives and maintain that we seek to live a life of excellence.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Your comment will be posted after review. If you could take the time to be kind and not practice profanity, it would be appreciated. Thanks for posting!