How do I live a life of excellence?
If I were to put a definition to excellence it would have to be a definition that shows actuality or action. I say this because excellence is something that is never constant. In being excellent, one means to say that one is at the top. The nature of things is that newer and better things are created each day. This would mean that to be excellent, one needs to keep learning and adapting to every new thing and as such, excellence will always be something that is perpetually moving forward.
In using the above definition that I haphazardly presented, excellence in a man would then entail perpetual movement of the said man from point A to an unidentifiable other endpoint. Since there is perpetual movement, such an endpoint can never be truly achieved. If one tries to imagine such a thing, it would seem that a never ending line is what excellence is. There is a start, point A, but there will never be an end. To see such a thing in a man, one who is physically limited, would be next to impossible. Our mortality dictates that we have an end to our life. So if one were to plot excellence in men, it would be mathematically or graphically impossible. I would like to extend the argument, however, that though man is physical he is also a being that has the ability to imprint himself into the lives of people even up to thousands of generations after him. An example is by being able to write, man can then extend his line from point A to a point in time when his words are still being read by other men or other beings who understand what it is he left behind. However, it would still end up short of being never ending.
This for me is what excellence is about. Excellence in men is when we are able to project our lives further and in a way that we surpass our mortal ‘endpoint’. The idea that I want to stress is that many people who have touched the lives of others through their work or interactions have also lived beyond their mortal lives in the form of other people’s memories, traditions or prayers (there seems to be an immortalizing power in the relationships created between the interactions of people). In living our lives through human relationships and human collaboration, we seem to be able to inch away from our mortality and move closer toward a more transcendental way of living - which is mostly a more ‘other-centered’ way of living.
Excellence and living a life of excellence is therefore seeing past the pre-ordained endpoint of death. It is acknowledging one’s co-dependence with others and owning the responsibility (that as a member of humanity) to further the human cause by contributing to his neighbor’s development. By doing this, one extends his life beyond mortal constrictions and creates in his wake a retraceable path so that others may walk in his same steps. And although these same steps do not lead oneself to excellence, it may be seen that all of the people who have walked his path have in one way or another contributed to the pursuit of excellence. Through this intangible link it may be that though the man was not excellent per se he was part and parcel of the ‘making of excellence’.
So at the end of all of this abstract thinking and reasoning it seems that my final definition for excellence is that it is a work in progress. No man can truly be excellent. It may be said that he is excellent in this, or in that but never in everything. Does this mean that there is no possible way to live a life of excellence? Of course not. What I am saying is that excellence and living a life of excellence stems from one’s commitment to further his endpoint toward something that is beyond mortal. His success in this endeavor (which is affirmed by humanity), either during his lifetime or after, is the only way for him to live a life (albeit a temporary one) of excellence.