When someone tells you to “be excellent”, what comes to your mind?
For many living in metropolitan cities, being excellent in what you do (in your career) is the first thing that comes to mind. I.e. if you are a student, score good grades, do your homework well, etc. If you are a working adult, make sure your work is flawless, creative, profitable, on time, etc.
That’s what I used to think too. I’m not sure if it is due to life events or the coming of age (or both) that caused me to have a paradigm shift in what it means to “be excellent”. From a slave driver during my school days to a workaholic during the start of my career, I’ve changed so much in such a short time span (abt 12 yrs as a working adult) such that those who did not know me before probably wouldn’t believe the extent I used to take to ensure perfection in quality and meeting timelines, including forgoing relationships and the feelings of others just to ensure project/task/work objectives were met.
I used to speak my mind, tell people off, demand things to be done a certain way. If your feelings are hurt, that’s your problem cos you do not know how to use your head (logic) to rule your heart (feelings).
In recent years, I’ve come to think of excellence in terms of “being excellent in life” rather than “being excellent in what you do”. It does not mean that I no longer put in my best at work.
It means that my best at work cannot be at the expense of caring for other people in my life and beyond. It cannot be at the expense of my health. It cannot be at the expense of important and meaningful relationships. So if the quality of my work has to drop in order that the quality of life can go up, so be it.
By the way… for those of you who know about my younger school grades… haha… those were the days where I excelled in daydreaming. So I had excellent dreamy grades. I only started pressuring myself and others in my late teens.
Speaking of grades… other than getting you that first job, school grades are really utterly useless thereafter. In the long run, it is your own passion, drive, motivation, perseverance and a host of other things within and without your control that will bring you to where you want/need to go.
Anyway… so ya… yet another phase in life… another paradigm shift.
Interesting observing myself change.