Achieving excellence in anything

I heard the word “excellence” in the first interview of Tite, the new coach of brazilian “Seleção”, and it stuck in my mind as a symbol of what is guiding my life at the moment.

“The quality of being outstanding or extremely good”. How to achieve it? As much as areas of human activity are so variable, the way to achieve excellence are similar in any area. It doesn’t mean to be the best, as this is not necessary to succeed or live a happy life. It’s more a matter of ego, in my opinion.

I could support this article with research, and I wish to keep writing and thinking about this subject, but everything I’ll say here comes just from my own conclusions.

I think the first requisite to achieve excellence in any area is to simply spend a lot of time doing it. And it’s not that hard. One hour a day in any activity will achieve enormous results. Obviously it’s easier said than done. People quit for several reasons, and will keep quitting no matter what they read, but trying to stick to an activity even if you don’t feel like it might pay-off. Just as a personal example. I remember starting to study german when I was 15. I quit and started again a few times but never stuck with it. Imagine what would have happened if I kept doing it, even two times a week, for the last 19 years. I would probably be fluent in German, right?

Obviously to spend a lot of time doing something you really need to love it, or other activities will interest you and eventually you’ll quit the other ones. But the fact is, anything in life gets more interesting the more you know it. And the more you know it, the more you’re recognized for it. When we start collecting the fruits, no matter if professional, social, affective. It will have paid off.

One second important thing is to have a systematic approach. And by that I mean write plans, set goals, do objective self-assessments, break down all of the things needed to achieve that goal, organize all the research done into files. It’s like a war. An army has soldiers, but most of the personnel are specialists in a number of things necessary to win in a battlefield: logistics, communication, nutrition, clothing, engineering, map-making, and dozens of others. Once we have all our “departments” organized, it will much easier to attack our goals.

The third one is to search for guidance. Obviously most of the people that excel in life have had great education, tutors, teachers, supervisors or whatever. But sometimes we get attached to that crusader idea of “i’m going to achieve this all by myself, with nobody’s help”. No! The more help you get from specialists, the easier you’ll get there. Not only they’ll help in goal setting (which is likely to be more realistic than yours), but also will help you to assess what you’re doing wrong. As we all know, we’re more often than not doing wrong things without even realizing it.

Why am I writing this? I’m not trying to be a smart-mouth here. Mostly because I can’t say I’m excellent in anything. But since I have multiple areas of interest (football, dance, poker, etc), it’s nice to have a common “method” to try to master them. I’ll come back to this as I find it a fascinating subject and there are other items I want to touch.


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