Let Spirit of Excellence Soar Higher

“Excellence is not an accomplishment. It is a spirit, a never-ending process“, so says Lawrence M. Miller, the author, speaker and management consultant. This spirit of excellence was very much evident in the recently concluded London Olympics 2012, where the sports-persons won the hearts of people truly living by the Olympic motto of ‘Citius, Altius, Fortius’ , which means  ‘Faster, Higher, Stronger’. It was heartening to watch the sports-persons perform in the spirit of  Excellence, Friendship and Respect, the core values of the Olympics.

At London 2012, USA emerged as the victor with 104 medals (Gold-46, Silver-29, Bronze-29) with People’s Republic of China and Great Britain following at second and third positions with a total of 88 and 65 medals respectively. We saw Usain Bolt become the fastest man on earth by winning Gold medals in 100m, 200m, 4x100m relay events; Michael  Phelps become the most celebrated Olympian swimmer with an overall record of 22 medals in three olympics, including 18 Gold medals, to his credit, a feat unlikely to be surpassed in the near future; Mo Farah achieve the rare distinction of winning two Gold medals in the long distance running (5000m and 10000m); Missy Franklin of USA win four Gold medals in swimming. We also witnessed Chris Hoy, the British Olympian, become the most successful cyclist ever with a career haul of seven, six Gold and a Bronze, medals. It was also a sheer joy to watch double amputee, South African athlete, Oscar Pistorius, also known as the blade runner,  compete in 400m and 4x400m relay events along with the other able-bodied athletes.

India won a total of six medals (Silver-2, Bronze-4) at London 2012.  Sushil Kumar and Vijay Kumar won Silver medals in Wrestling and Shooting respectively.  MC Mary Kom, Saina Nehwal, Yogeshwar Dutt and Gagan Narang won Bronze medals in Boxing, Badminton, Wrestling and Shooting respectively. They  did India proud by their excellent performance. May their hard work, determination, dedication and devotion to excel guide and lead the younger generation on to the path of excellence and glory.

Finally, excellence is all about giving one’s very best, on the field of play or in life. Are we giving our best? Are we working with the values of Olympics and striving to excel in the fields of our endeavour? If not, then what corrective actions are needed? We need to take a stock of our lives now…as the answers to these questions will help us to move towards excellence.

Lastly, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act , but a habit”, with these words of Aristotle, the Greek philosopher and polymath, I sign off this blog post greeting you all on the occasion of India’s 66th Independence Day.

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3 thoughts on “Let Spirit of Excellence Soar Higher

  1. sir what is necessary excellence or the process of achieving excellence. by the process i mean learning something new, spirit of trying and perseverance. most of the times people who exceed are the ones who are remembered. for eg. if there is vijay kumar who won the silver medal then there is joydeep karmarkar who stood 4th in the very same event. but we hail for vijay and forget joydeep. why is it that we always remember the winners???????

    • Vithika, you have raised very apt questions. Let me answer your first question by saying that ‘excellence’ is not an act, not an accomplishment, not a skill and also not a process but a spirit, an attitude, a habit of becoming better all the time. To explain my point, I would like to quote George Sheehan:

      “Excellence is not something attained and put in a trophy case. It is not sought after, achieved and, thereafter, a steady state. It is a momentary phenomenon, a rare conjunction of body, mind, spirit at one’s peak. Should I come to that peak I cannot stay there. I must start each day at the bottom and climb to the top. And then beyond that peak to another and yet another.”

      So, it is necessary to develop a spirit, an attitude, a habit of becoming better and better and better….and that’s what excellence is all about.

      To answer your second question, it is not an individual that we honour; it is the spirit of excellence in him or her that we honour. What Joydeep Karmakar achieved in London Olympics is no mean feat by itself. It is the very best that he could achieve that day but that does not mean he should not strive to do better. Excellence lies in our striving to become better as a human being immaterial of our field of endeavour. If I am a sports person I should always strive to improve my performance to the best of my ability. As a student, I should develop this attitude to become a better student by continuously working hard with dedication and devotion.

      I would also like to emphasize that we should avoid making comparisons, like that of Vijay and Joydeep. We should not compare ourselves with others. We should always endeavour to improve ourselves. As long as we are better than what we were a moment ago, or a day ago, or week ago, or a month ago, or a year ago, we are on the path of excellence. This way, there is no winner or loser….Spirit of excellence is the only winner.

      • Sir,
        I personally believe that society in itself is unfair and biased. As Vithika said, we only hail the winners and not the someone who wasn’t able to perform his best that day or moment. It is absolutely true and I completely agree with her. If we talk about a particular event, Olympics for example…then it is not a depiction of real life. a guy losing in final event cannot be compared with someone losing in real world. In Physical World where we all live, we get many chances to rise and fall but nothing that sort of happens at the Olympics. A guy loses, loses with no guarantee of a medal 4 years later.Well that’s a risk that comes with the game and should not be compared with real, actual world. One needs to fall several times to achieve what we call ‘Excellence’

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