STRIVING FOR EXCELLENCE


When you finish a thing you ought to be able to say to yourself:  "There, I am willing to stand for that piece of work. It is not pretty well done; it is done as well as I can do it; done to a complete finish. I will stand for that. I am willing to be judged by it."

Never be satisfied with "fairly good," "pretty good," "good enough." Accept nothing short of your best. Put such a quality into your work that anyone who comes across anything you have ever done will see character in it, individuality in it, your trademark of superioriity upon it. Your reputation is at stake in everything you do, and your reputation is your capital. You cannot afford to do a poor job, to let blotched work or anything that is inferior go out of your hands. Every bit of your work, no matter how unimportant or trivial it may seem, should bear your trademark of excellence. It must be the very best you can do, the best human skill can produce. It is just the little difference between the good and the best that makes the diffeence between the artist and the artisan. It is just the little touches after the average man would quit that make the master's fame.

Regard your work as Stradivarius regarded his violins, which he "made for eternity," and not one on which was ever known to come to pieces of break. Stradivarius did not need any patent on violins, for no other violin maker who would pay such a price for excellence as he paid would take such pains to put his stamp for superiority upon his instrument. Every "Stradivarius" now in existence is worth several times its weight in gold.

Think of the value such a reputation for thoroughness as that of Stradivarius or Tampion, such passion to give quality to your work, would give you! There is nothing like being enamored of accuracy, being grounded in thoroughness as a life principle, of always striving for excellence.


-from "The University of Success" by Og Mandino



1