Focus on Excellence and Success Will Follow

"Try not to become a person of success,
but rather try to become a person of value."

- Albert Einstein

There is a lot to be said for setting goals and achieving results. However, goals and results aren't always something we control. What we can control is our effort. If we focus on giving great effort, success is a likely result.

Former UCLA basketball coach John Wooden won an amazing 10 championships in 12 years. Ironically, he never talked about winning. He would always preach to his players that what mattered most was giving their best effort. Their practice sessions were meticulously executed and they were conditioned so well that winning the game seemed like a natural by-product.

Don't tie your emotions to the results. Knowing that you gave your best effort provides great internal satisfaction. The success that may come with it is the frosting on the cake.

  • You can't control how well your book will sell. You can ensure that you did quality work.

  • You can't control whether you will be selected for the position, but you can control your effort in preparing for the interview.

  • You can't control whether you will be admitted to the college of your choice. You can control the effort and time you spent studying in high school and preparing for the college entrance exams.

Giving your best effort puts you in the best position for success.

Here are three ways to pursue excellence.

1. Do one thing at a time. We easily become distracted and diffused. I saw a guy at the gym a few weeks ago who was literally doing arm curls with one arm while texting with the opposite hand. Whatever you are doing, do it with intention and intensity. There is power in single-minded focus.

2. Focus on a few things. We may be interested in many things but focus on the few that count. Practice selective ignorance. Limit your information intake. Keep current with the news, but watching political pundits debate doesn't make your life any better. Decide to be sharp instead of well-rounded.

"Devoting a little of yourself to everything
means committing a great deal of yourself to nothing."

- Michael Laboef

3. Make excellence your standard. In things that don't matter, get it done and over with. But with things that count, take it to the next level. Become dissatisfied with mediocrity. Aim for high quality. Seek to be exceptional. Be a craftsman, not a carpenter.

No one who ever gave their best regretted it.