Tag Archives: high performance

The Pursuit Of Personal Excellence

Personal excellence is gained by the gradual result of always striving to do better.

The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential, these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence.

Personal excellence is not about being a perfectionist. It is not a goal to be reached, a project to prove anything to anyone, satisfy anyone’s expectations, or unnecessarily stressing ourselves through being obsessive and impatient. Personal excellence is a personal resolve to do whatever we are doing the best we can, in the moment with an openness to the possibility of better ways.
Personal excellence is the life-long process of developing specific mental skills that will lead us to increase the levels of our intelligent self-direction. It is a process of becoming the best person we can be and is reflected in how we are, as well as what we do. Personal excellence is a journey of positive development beyond one’s self. It manifests in self-defined and self-valued achievements that reflect one’s best efforts.
Personal excellence is indicated in people who develop their gifts and talents to the fullest, achieving a harmony in how they think, feel, behave, and believe that leads to productive relationships and outcomes.
It seems as if those pursuing personal excellence do go about some things differently. In some cases, these behaviours are planned and quite deliberate, while in others they are implicit and not done consciously. The good news is that many of these behaviours can be learned and cultivated as we pursue our own pathway towards personal excellence.
There is nothing more satisfying than overcoming a challenge that was previously deemed insurmountable; nothing more satisfying than looking back at who you are now and realizing that you have grown much more than you thought you could. To be human is to live to our highest potential.”

Personal excellence in virtually all domains is guided by mental factors. And the experiences of exceptional performers suggest that there are six critical elements of excellence: Commitment, Belief, Full Focus, Mental Readiness, Distraction Control and Constructive Evaluation. These elements combine to form a “Wheel of Excellence” that provides a working framework to guide the pursuit of personal excellence.

  1. Commitment: The first essential ingredient guiding the pursuit of personal excellence is commitment. To excel at anything we must have or develop a very high level of dedication, self-discipline, passion, joy or love for what we are doing. We must truly commit ourselves to be the best we can be and continuously strive to make personal improvements and meaningful contributions. We require commitment to persevere through the ups and downs associated with becoming our best and maintaining our best performance in order to achieve personal excellence.
  2. Belief/Self-Confidence: Personal excellence is guided by belief in our potential, our goal, the meaningfulness of our goal, and trust in our capacity to reach that goal. Believing in ourselves and having confidence in our capacity allows us to extend our limits, create our own opportunities and push through performance barriers. Where there is firm belief in our capacity to carry out a mission and absolute connection with our performance, doors are opened to higher levels of excellence. When negative thoughts interfere with trust, performance wobbles. In the same way that belief can unlock doors, doubts can place limits on possibilities and potentials. In the presence of belief our performance blossoms; in its absence we can never touch our potential.
  3. Full Focus: Focusing is the single most important mental skill associated with performance of personal excellence. It refers to the ability to concentrate fully on what we are doing, seeing, reading, hearing, learning, feeling, observing or experiencing while we are engaged in the activity or performance. Focusing fully not only allows us to connect totally with what we are experiencing, but also frees us to perform without being disturbed by distracting thoughts.
  4. Mental Readiness: Personal excellence requires us to become skilled at getting the most out of our daily learning and living experiences. This begins with a commitment to make the most of each learning and performance opportunity. Personal excellence demands that we develop an effective way to enter a high-quality, focused performance zone on a consistent basis. We need an effective mental plan that is capable of bringing us to an intensified state of readiness for learning and performance. To excel at learning, performing, or living, we must extend an openness to learn and a commitment to an ongoing personal growth. We must engage ourselves in a continual process of self- discovery, and act upon those discoveries that lead us to our best focus and best performances. Our focus is the leader. When we discover what works best and feels best, we must follow that path, even in the face of obstacles from others who may dictate another path.
  5. Distraction Control: The fifth element of personal excellence is controlling distractions. And it refers to our ability to maintain or to regain a positive, effective focus when faced with potential distractions, negative input, or setbacks. These distractions may be external, arising from our environment, or internal, emerging from our own thoughts or expectations. Maintaining and regaining a constructive focus is an essential part of performing to our capacity on a consistent basis, whether distractions occur before, during, between or after events. Developing our ability to refocus in a positive direction is an extremely important factor affecting the consistency of our performance in all areas.
  6. Constructive Evaluation: Personal excellence entails us to develop an effective process for personal evaluation, and act upon the lessons drawn from these evaluations. Constructive evaluation includes looking for the good things and targeting areas for improvement in ourselves, our performance, and our experiences. We can draw inspiration, confidence and joy from reflecting on positive experiences and personal achievements.

“To achieve something that you’ve never achieved before, you must become someone that you have never been before.” – Les Brown


Sympathy, Knowledge and Poise

Sympathy, Knowledge and Poise seem to be the three ingredients that are most needed in forming the Gentle Man. I place these elements according to their value. No man is great who does not have Sympathy plus, and the greatness of men can be safely gauged by their sympathies. Sympathy and imagination are twin sisters. Your heart must go out to all men, the high, the low, the rich, the poor, the learned, the unlearned, the good, the bad, the wise and the foolish it is necessary to be one with them all, else you can never comprehend them. Sympathy! It is the touchstone to every secret, the key to all knowledge, the open sesame of all hearts. Put yourself in the other man’s place and then you will know why he thinks certain things and does certain deeds. Put yourself in his place and your blame will dissolve itself into pity, and your tears will wipe out the record of his misdeeds. The saviours of the world have simply been men with wondrous sympathy.

But Knowledge must go with Sympathy, else the emotions will become maudlin and pity may be wasted on a poodle instead of a child; on a field-mouse instead of a human soul. Knowledge in use is wisdom, and wisdom implies a sense of values you know a big thing from a little one, a valuable fact from a trivial one. Tragedy and comedy are simply questions of value: a little misfit in life makes us laugh, a great one is tragedy and cause for expression of grief.

Poise is the strength of body and strength of mind to control your Sympathy and your Knowledge. Unless you control your emotions they run over and you stand in the mire. Sympathy must not run riot, or it is valueless and tokens weakness instead of strength. In every hospital for nervous disorders are to be found many instances of this loss of control. The individual has Sympathy but not Poise, and therefore his life is worthless to himself and to the world.

He symbols inefficiency and not helpfulness. Poise reveals itself more in voice than it does in words; more in thought than in action; more in atmosphere than in conscious life. It is a spiritual quality, and is felt more than it is seen. It is not a matter of bodily size, nor of bodily attitude, nor attire, nor of personal comeliness: it is a state of inward being, and of knowing your cause is just. And so you see it is a great and profound subject after all, great in its ramifications, limitless in extent, implying the entire science of right living. I once met a man who was deformed in body and little more than a dwarf, but who had such Spiritual Gravity such Poise that to enter a room where he was, was to feel his presence and acknowledge his superiority. To allow Sympathy to waste itself on unworthy objects is to deplete one’s life forces. To conserve is the part of wisdom, and reserve is a necessary element in all good literature, as well as in everything else.

Poise being the control of our Sympathy and Knowledge, it implies a possession of these attributes, for without having Sympathy and Knowledge you have nothing to control but your physical body. To practise Poise as a mere gymnastic exercise, or study in etiquette, is to be self-conscious, stiff, preposterous and ridiculous. Those who cut such fantastic tricks before high heaven as make angels weep, are men void of Sympathy and Knowledge trying to cultivate Poise. Their science is a mere matter of what to do with arms and legs. Poise is a question of spirit controlling flesh, heart controlling attitude.

Get Knowledge by coming close to Nature. That man is the greatest who best serves his kind. Sympathy and Knowledge are for use you acquire that you may give out; you accumulate that you may bestow. And as God has given unto you the sublime blessings of Sympathy and Knowledge, there will come to you the wish to reveal your gratitude by giving them out again; for the wise man is aware that we retain spiritual qualities only as we give them away. Let your light shine. To him that hath shall be given. The exercise of wisdom brings wisdom; and at the last the infinitesimal quantity of man’s knowledge, compared with the Infinite, and the smallness of man’s Sympathy when compared with the source from which ours is absorbed, will evolve an abnegation and a humility that will lend a perfect Poise. The Gentleman is a man with perfect Sympathy, Knowledge, and Poise.

“Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with deeper meaning.”     Maya Angelou 

The Spiritual Growth of Modern Times

To grow spiritually in a world defined by power, money, and influence is a Herculean task. Modern conveniences such as electronic equipments, gadgets, and tools as well as entertainment through television, magazines, and the web have predisposed us to confine our attention mostly to physical needs and wants. As a result, our concepts of self-worth and self-meaning are muddled. How can we strike a balance between the material and spiritual aspects of our lives?

To grow spiritually is to look inward.

Introspection goes beyond recalling the things that happened in a day, week, or month. You need to look closely and reflect on your thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and motivations. Periodically examining your experiences, the decisions you make, the relationships you have, and the things you engage in provide useful insights on your life goals, on the good traits you must sustain and the bad traits you have to discard. Moreover, it gives you clues on how to act, react, and conduct yourself in the midst of any situation. Like any skill, introspection can be learned; all it takes is the courage and willingness to seek the truths that lie within you. Here are some pointers when you introspect: be objective, be forgiving of yourself, and focus on your areas for improvement.

To grow spiritually is to develop your potentials.

Religion and science have differing views on matters of the human spirit. Religion views people as spiritual beings temporarily living on Earth, while science views the spirit as just one dimension of an individual. Mastery of the self is a recurring theme in both Christian (Western) and Islamic (Eastern) teachings. The needs of the body are recognized but placed under the needs of the spirit. Beliefs, values, morality, rules, experiences, and good works provide the blueprint to ensure the growth of the spiritual being. In Psychology, realizing one’s full potential is to self-actualize. Maslow identified several human needs: physiological, security, belongingness, esteem, cognitive, aesthetic, self-actualization, and self-transcendence. James earlier categorized these needs into three: material, emotional, and spiritual. When you have satisfied the basic physiological and emotional needs, spiritual or existential needs come next. Achieving each need leads to the total development of the individual. Perhaps the difference between these two religions and psychology is the end of self-development: Christianity, Islam and Baha’i faith see that self-development is a means toward serving God, while psychology view that self-development is an end by itself.

To grow spiritually is to search for meaning.

Religions that believe in the existence of God such as Christianism, Judaism, Islam, and Baha’i faith suppose that the purpose of the human life is to serve the Creator of all things. Several theories in psychology propose that we ultimately give meaning to our lives. Whether we believe that life’s meaning is pre-determined or self-directed, to grow in spirit is to realize that we do not merely exist. We do not know the meaning of our lives at birth; but we gain knowledge and wisdom from our interactions with people and from our actions and reactions to the situations we are in. As we discover this meaning, there are certain beliefs and values that we reject and affirm.  Our lives have purpose. This purpose puts all our physical, emotional, and intellectual potentials into use; sustains us during trying times; and gives us something to look forward to—a goal to achieve, a destination to reach. A person without purpose or meaning is like a drifting ship at sea.

To grow spiritually is to recognize interconnections.

Religions stress the concept of our relatedness to all creation, live and inanimate. Thus we call other people “brothers and sisters” even if there are no direct blood relations. Moreover, deity-centered religions such as Christianity, Islam, and Baha’i Faith speak of the relationship between humans and a higher being. On the other hand, science expounds on our link to other living things through the evolution theory. This relatedness is clearly seen in the concept of ecology, the interaction between living and non-living things. In psychology, connectedness is a characteristic of self-transcendence, the highest human need according to Maslow. Recognizing your connection to all things makes you more humble and respectful of people, animals, plants, and things in nature. It makes you appreciate everything around you. It moves you to go beyond your comfort zone and reach out to other people, and become stewards of all other things around you.

Growth is a process thus to grow in spirit is a day-to-day encounter. We win some, we lose some, but the important thing is that we learn, and from this knowledge, further spiritual growth is made possible.