Jay Shirley

Striving to be a man of gallantry and taste

Practice Excellence and Make a Dead Greek Guy Proud.

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People say funny things. Sometimes inane, inflammatory, loving or just pointless. My favorite is when a simple comment is made that unwittingly alters the listeners reality. I think it happens more frequently than expected.

Years ago when I was young and (more) troublesome I was complaining about a project. My friend and coworker was listening. He turns to me, “Someone once said character is continuing on when you don’t want to anymore.” It affected me deeply that day. I incorporated that quote into my life. I buckled down and got the project done. Several years late I told him how significant of an impact it made. H just looked at me with a blank stare. There was no recollection. Life’s great.

Most of the time it’s more obvious that some quote has meaning. It’s usually because it is sourced to some philosopher or other well-established person in history. My favorite quote is the work of Aristotle. I’m sure he has no clue it’s changed my life, but that doesn’t change that I’m happy he said it.

We are what we repeatedly do.

I can stop it right there. I don’t need the rest. I’m going to throw out another quote from The Root’s newest album. “The Devil want me as is, but God he want more.”

I’m not religious and don’t think that quote has anything to do with religion. God and Devil are just common pro- and antagonists.

The enemy of success is repeatedly continuing action that hasn’t been good enough in the past.

You must always want more, and repeatedly strive to do more and be better. That is what excellence is. You must practice excellence.

Deliberate practice is what allows this to happen. I don’t mean just in the subject matters more relevant. We are what we repeatedly do. Not repeatedly do for work. Do. Be excellent in all aspects. Never settle for second best. It’s hard, but it’s a habit.

Often I hear people think that any master of any industry has talent. That talent is what explains their rapid and impressive ascent. Wrong. They practice.

More quotes. Thomas Edison, who is a master of success, said “Success is 10 percent inspiration and 90 percent perspiration”. He’s right but I don’t believe perspiration alone contributes to anything resembling success. It has to be guided. It has to be deliberate. It must be purposeful.

Failure is inevitable without practicing things related to, but not directly the same as, what life demands for success.

James Altucher has written many pieces that talk about how diligently he reads and studies on subjects. Any subject that is relevant to his being. This is a man who has obtained expert status in a variety of fields. He has deliberately and methodically worked his way through a staggering amount of material.

He doesn’t fixate on the task at hand, but the entire ecosystem. The forest first, and then the trees.

It’s a struggle for me. A struggle for me to justify the time spent. A challenge to not be content just enjoying a weekend. I feel I must study more. I have a compulsive demand to continue learning and continue practicing. I sometimes feel guilty.