Success is often measured by comparison to others. Excellence is all about being the best we can personally be by maximizing our gifts, talents, and abilities to perform at our highest potential. We live in a world focusing too often on success and comparison–just turn on the TV anytime and you get running commentary proving this point. We are all guilty of doing this (trust me; I’m a recovering perfectionist, so I know this to be true). 🙂 Perhaps we should begin then to focus more on excellence and less on success; focus on being the best we can be and realize our greatest competition is not someone else but only ourselves.
For example, look at golfing legend Jack Nicklaus (one of my daddy’s personal faves). His secret was to play the course and not his competition. He simply “focused on playing the best he could play against the course he was playing.” While other golfers were competing against him, he was competing against the course and himself.
In working with young learners, it is critical to teach and model this concept in action. We always have a choice as individuals, as teachers, as parents, as coaches, as a learning community. You can choose to focus on success and spend time looking around to see how the competition is doing—or—you can choose to look straight ahead towards the vision of greatness and excellence. We can look at competition as the standard or as an indicator of our progress towards our own standard of excellence. We can chase success or we can embark on a quest for personal excellence. Why not focus 100% of our energy to become our personal best and let success find us? After all, when our goal shifts to excellence, the outcome (and the byproduct) is usually success. 🙂
Speaking of excellence, here’s hoping you join us this evening for the excellent annual MISD Field of Readers Event @ 6:00 p.m. on the field at the MISD Multipurpose Stadium!