Excellence (or the pursuit thereof) almost always entails some angst. It may come in the form of commitment to change, confrontation, making controversial decisions, restructuring, remaking, retooling, learning something new, unlearning something old… On the other hand, non-excellence is rather easy to achieve. Mediocrity and averageness are achieved mostly through continued breathing.
When we make the conscious decision to live life in a more excellent way, it implies then a process of constant self-assessment (either for us as individuals, or the organizations in which we hold membership). Attempting to view ourselves, our current performance, our level of effectiveness in a fair and objective way essentially raises a mirror to our shortcomings, flaws, and failures, as well as our “wins,” attributes, and successes.
What we have learned from research on human behavior is that making some kind of public commitment triggers an inner determination to work toward an espoused goal, to become that person, to fulfill that resolution. Psychologically, we become “married” to our commitment and begin reshaping ourselves (even unconsciously) into the image we have publicly proclaimed to pursue.
The choice to pursue excellence is also rather liberating. It’s like giving one’s self (or the organization) permission to break from previously held assumptions or constraints (in all their dastardly forms) in order to create something better, newer, different, magical.
Golden is the fact that we don’t have to ask anyone’s permission to pursue excellent living. We can unilaterally decide to learn more, act more humanely, attend to our fitness more deliberately, love more deeply, and serve others more richly.
Why would we not?