Mediocrity is a Virus, Excellence is the Cure

“Excellence is an art won by training and habituation: we do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have these because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”

—Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy

Many hundreds, if not thousands, of pieces have been written regarding the benefit of carefully developed routines. Many famously successful people have unique and personal daily rituals they use to manage their stress, workload, and health. The Book of Proverbs is full of wisdom regarding how to fashion a life that is spent wisely and creates value, and most of these proverbs involve a habit.

When we began character education at Kimray in the early 1990s, we said we could change our character not by some great effort all at once, but rather by making small choices consistently over time.

There is a common thread that runs through almost all the literature related to routines and habits and how they impact our lives: little things matter. Routines are the foundational pieces of our lives that give us the leverage to do the larger work.

The opposite of excellence is not inferiority, it is mediocrity. I came across a very interesting article by Benjamin P. Hardy about mediocrity and how to banish it from your life. Some takeaways for me were:

Little things become big things. This has been said lots of ways by lots of people and is true about everything—healthy or unhealthy. The small daily choices end up becoming the majority. I know this intuitively, but I don’t often heed the reality.

What is private always shows itself publicly. I cannot be two different men. What I am in private will be what I will eventually show myself to be in public. I have experienced this truth in a very profound way in my life, and now my mental and emotional health compel me to be authentic.

What you think about, meditate on, and spend time with is what you become. This is why culture is so important at Kimray. We want to surround ourselves with people we want to do life with. People we want to be like. We want to challenge one another to be better, encourage ourselves to dream, and create a current that moves us all in a positive direction.

I am grateful that I am surrounded by men and women who want to create excellence in themselves, in the work we do, and in the larger community. That is what excites me every day, and that is The Kimray Way.

Leave a Reply