If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michaelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, 'Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.
Good human work honors God's work. Good work uses no thing without respect, both for what it is in itself and for its origin. It uses neither tool nor material that it does not respect and that it does not love. It honors nature as a great mystery and power, as an indispensable teacher, and as the inescapable judge of all work of human hands. It does not dissociate life and work, or pleasure and work, or love and work, or usefulness and beauty. To work without pleasure or affection, to make a product that is not both useful and beautiful, is to dishonor God, nature, the thing that is made, and whomever it is made for. This is blasphemy: to make shoddy work of the work of God. But such blasphemy is not possible when the entire Creation is understood as holy and when the works of God are understood as embodying and thus revealing His spirit. (pg. 312, Christianity and the Survival of Creation)
You are always self-employed. You are always the president of your own personal services corporation, no matter where you might be working at the moment. When you see yourself as self-employed, you develop the entrepreneur mentality. The mentality of the highly independent, self-responsible, self-starting individual. Instead of waiting for things to happen, you make things happen. You see yourself as the boss of your own life. You see yourself as completely in charge of your physical health, your financial well-being, your career, your relationships, your home, your car, and every element of your existence. This is the mindset of the truly excellent person.
As human beings, the quest to seeking wealth is an ongoing project and a life time endeavor; it should not be taken as a destination but rather a journey, not an event but a process. Striving for excellence and higher levels of satisfaction should be our mantra and motto, and keeping ourselves challenged to do better make life even more fulfilling and satisfying
The rewrites are a struggle right now. Sometimes I wish writing a book could just be easy for me at last. But when I think about it practically, I am glad it's a struggle. I am (as usual) attempting to write a book that's too hard for me. I'm telling a story I'm not smart enough to tell. The risk of failure is huge. But I prefer it this way. I'm forced to learn, forced to smarten myself up, forced to wrestle. And if it works, then I'll have written something that is better than I am.
I’m speaking of the pursuit of excellence in all things. All things! Presence of mind and devotion to craft. A great artist has these. A great chef. A great master of tea. There’s powerful kung fu in a well-built house or an eloquent letter, but the limit of your imagination is bones breaking and bullets flying.
As Aristotle said, 'Excellence is a habit.' I would say furthermore that excellence is made constant through the feeling that comes right after one has completed a work which he himself finds undeniably awe-inspiring. He only wants to relax until he's ready to renew such a feeling all over again because to him, all else has become absolutely trivial.
There are many people, particularly in sports, who think that success and excellence are the same thing. They are not the same thing. Excellence is something that is lasting and dependable and largely within a person's control. In contrast, success is perishable and is often outside our control. If you strive for excellence, you will probably be successful eventually. People who put excellence in the first place have the patience to end up with success. An additional burden for the victim of the success mentality is that he is threatened by the success of others and he resents real excellence. In contrast, the person that is fascinated by quality is excited when he sees it in others.