[Note: This is Positively Present's very first guest post. I'm honored to have Celestine Chua, author of the very popular The Personal Excellence Blog, as my first guest blogger. Thank you, Celes, for taking the time to write this fabulous post!]
When Dani asked me to guest post at Positively Present, I was excited. I've been reading Positively Present since a few months back and have been fascinated by the consistent quality of her writing. So I began looking through the archives at Positively Present as I thought about what to write. As all of you readers already know by heart, Positively Present is all about optimism, happiness, and living life to the fullest now. I wondered what I could write to add value to the mix, especially since Dani is already doing such an excellent job writing. Then I suddenly thought of a perfect topic, one which resonates with my core value as a person and the theme of happiness. I have several core values, but if anyone is to ask me to just name one, I'd say it's excellence. Excellence is the centerpiece of me. This extends itself in everything I do -- my blog centers on theme of personal excellence. I coach people to become better as they achieve their goals and dreams. I'm starting a school of personal excellence later this year for people passionate about achieving personal excellence.
Why am I so passionate about excellence? Because I see excellence as the path towards living your best life. To strive for anything less is to deny ourselves of living the life we are meant to live. Deep in my heart, I truly believe every single one of us is born to achieve greatness. We have unlimited potential which is waiting to be unleashed. As we pursue excellence, we grow and become better. We become wiser, more knowledgeable, and more conscious. We connect more and more with our higher selves -- our true selves. As long as we keep being the best we can be, we will be living our best possible life at every moment.
However, in my journey towards excellence, it has not been uncommon to see people adverse toward the whole notion. Some see excellence to be the path towards unhappiness, because it's just "stressful" and "taking things too hard." Some become intimidated by the thought of excellence, saying they'd rather lead a simple and worry-free life. On the whole, they see excellence to be a polarizing quality that denies them of happiness. These aversions come really from a misunderstanding of what excellence entails. What does excellence really mean?
- Excellence means recognizing the unlimited potential in you. This means knowing that you are capable of anything in the world. This means going full out on your goals and dreams, simply because you can.
- Excellence means embracing adversity as a part of growth and living. The word "adversity" has been too overrated. People have come to associate adversity with negativity and they get paralyzed in the face of it. If you recognize you have unlimited potential in you (see #1), you'll understand that adversity is nothing but just something that exists to let you grow and become better. Adversity is merely a challenge for you to overcome. It's part and parcel in life. It definitely isn't synonymous with negativity. The only reason why it's negative to people is because they chose to associate it as such.
- Excellence means loving yourself and taking good care of yourself. Some look at cases of people burning out and nearly killing themselves in pursuit of excellence and form a negative mental image of "excellence." The thing is, the people who abuse themselves aren't being true to what excellence really is. They don't recognize that to be able to truly pursue excellence one must first properly take care of oneself to successfully achieve excellence. We are the ones who will be going through the whole journey of life, so if we're not even in the right shape, how can we then achieve excellence?
- Excellence means to live your best life. As I mentioned above, as you pursue excellence, you literally become better and wiser. Living life as a better and wiser you translates into a better life compared to if you were living without growing.
As you can see, excellence isn't mutually exclusive with happiness. It's really synonymous. To be excellent is to live a life of fulfillment and of happiness. As long as you embrace and pursue excellence, you are living your best life. Here are some of my personal adages in pursuing personal excellence:
- Go for BHAGs: Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals. Don't settle for small, moderate, or safe goals. Go for your wildest imaginations -- the kind of dreams you can only dream about. These are the goals that will truly make you come alive. Just to share one of my BHAGs -- my long-term vision for my personal excellence school is to achieve an international scale and magnitude like that of Xavier's school (anyone watches X-Men here?). A good counterpart will be Hogwart's School from Harry Potter :D
- Surround yourself with the best. The people around you play a significant role in shaping who you become. I've written an article on my blog before on how you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. Consciously select who you want to be around. Limit the time spent around energy vampires (also known as negative people).
- Learn from the best. There's no way to jumpstart your learning curve than to learn directly from the best in the field. Seek them out fervently and be like a sponge -- absorbing all the knowledge they have to offer.
- Never stop improving. The journey of excellence never ends -- it's a constant path of learning, growing, and being better. Always keep your eyes peeled for how you can be better. Keep looking inward to uncover blind spots and work on them. This has become something ingrained in me. I'm a very introspective person by default and being a coach reinforces the importance of introspecting and self-improving even more, since there are more lives than just mine in question.
Do try them out for yourself -- I'd love to know how they work out for you :). I'll end off this article with one of my favorite quotes by Teddy Roosevelt: "Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat."
Celestine Chua writes at her popular The Personal Excellence Blog for people who are passionate about achieving excellence. She has been featured frequently in press and is a highly sought-after excellence coach, helping others achieve their goals and dreams. Some of her top articles among readers are: 50 Ways to Boost Your Productivity, 101 Most Inspiring Quotes of All Time, and Cultivate Good Habits in 21 Days.