Excellence Or Success
I get invited to a lot of forums where I am expected to guide students and parents on what success is all about. I have been delivering sessions on this subject since quite a few years and based on the interactions I have had with the student – parent and teacher community till date I […]
I get invited to a lot of forums where I am expected to guide students and parents on what success is all about. I have been delivering sessions on this subject since quite a few years and based on the interactions I have had with the student – parent and teacher community till date I find that almost all students and parents ask tips for being successful in exams, in life. None of the forums ever expected me to speak on excellence. Lets first understand the difference between Success and Excellence. Success is always measured by achievements. It is often measured by comparison to others. We live in a world that focuses on success and loves to compare. On the other hand, excellence is all about being the best we can be by maximizing our gifts, talents and abilities to perform at the highest potential within the resources available.
In our quest to achieve success and to fair well in the comparison that will follow, we eventually learn to beat the competition. Slowly and gradually we get drifted away from enjoying the game, enjoying the process and we simply start to focus on the desired achievements and means to achieve those targets.
PLAY AND ENJOY THE GAME; NOT THE COMPETITION Let me explain the concept.
Right from childhood, parents and teachers teach children to fight the competition. Parents expect marks, grades and medals from children. Academic achievements are considered to be the barometer of a child’s capabilities and talent. Schools reward children who score more marks in the exams that merely judge the memorizing ability of a child. Children are forcibly made to understand that scoring more marks is more important than understanding concepts. They get conditioned gradually to believe that learning by rote overrules learning by comprehension when it comes to scoring marks and being successful. In this whole process, children somewhere forget excellence and run merely behind achieving success. The goal of students today is to clear competitive exams…. Irrespective whether they are enjoying the process or no.
Let me quote a few examples here. When Apple (Steve Jobs… Co – founder of Apple, I- Pad etc) created such revolutionary products, they focused on creating the best products they could create. They never craved for success but always wanted to deliver the best products that could benefit the mankind; they focused only on excellence. They never played the competition. They played the game. Rather than measuring themselves with others, today they have become the measuring stick. This is excellence.
Felix Baumgartner jumped from a space capsule to set a new world record. The question is was he competing with others or was he trying to excel in his field by surpassing his own previous performance. Sachin Tendulkar, the legendary batsman excelled trying to overcome his follies. He always competed with his previous performance. He too never measured himself with others… and hence today he has become the measuring stick. This is excellence.
Coaching legend John Wooden often wouldn’t tell his players who they were playing each game. He felt that knowing the competition was irrelevant. He just wanted his boys to play the game and not the competition. He believed that if his team played to the best of their ability they would be happy with the outcome (winning or losing was secondary). In fact, John Wooden never focused on winning. He had his team focus on teamwork, mastering the fundamentals, daily improvement and the process that excellence requires. As a result he and his teams won A LOT.
When others try to compete with us; we should always compete with our previous performance. This leads to excellence. We have a choice as individuals, organizations and teams. We can focus on success and spend our life looking around to see how our competition is doing, or we can look straight ahead towards the vision of greatness we have for ourselves and our teams. We can look at competition as the standard or as an indicator of our progress towards our own standards. We can chase success or we can embark on a quest for excellence and focus 100% of our energy to become our best… and let success find us. Ironically, when our goal is excellence the outcome and by-product is often success.
The author, Dr. Vinay Jain, is the founder of Witty Group of Institutions
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