Personal Excellence: Part 1 - Reflections of a Young Man™

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Personal Excellence: Part 1



We all want quality products. We want foodstuffs that are fresh and well cooked. We want water that is clear and clean. We want houses that are firm and sleek. We want clothes of superior comfort and appeal. We want long-lasting machines that function efficiently. And so on and so forth.

Paradoxically, while all people want quality products, a great number don't offer such quality in their work. You will find them gossiping during working hours which makes them execute their duties halfheartedly. And they cheat on time in their work and on weight in their products. They are like ticks that suck blood without benefiting the host.

Let us strive to be different by taking to heart the following mantra of the great mathematician and particle physicist Albert Einstein:
"A hundred times every day, I remind myself that my inner and outer life are based on the labors of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give the same measure as I have received and still receiving."
Therefore, whatever our duty is - be it shaving hair, designing an aircraft engine, writing a novel, playing a team sport or governing a nation - let us do it with a touch of personal excellence. By so doing, we will give unto others the same quality of products that we demand of others.

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I have flagged this story as Part 1. Click here to read Part 2.

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Setting Boundaries



Bill Clinton narrates in his autobiography that he was once swarmed by bumblebees while mowing grass but they never stung him. He ran away from them but decided to go back near their nest thinking that the bumblebees had figured out that he meant no harm. But alas! On going back, he was stung mercilessly. And one of them got caught up in his belly making it sting him again and again - something bumblebees can do that honeybees cannot.

That Clinton's incidence teaches us that bumblebees are very wise. They know how to set boundaries, a concept well explained in Talane Miedaner's charming book: Coach Yourself to a New Career.

Setting boundaries is about limiting what others can't do to us or in our presence like bullying, lying, yelling, beating, talking coarsely or violating personal space. It is essential to happiness as Talane points out in her book. And it opens doors of great opportunities. Think of it this way: if we allow others to mistreat us without speaking up, we will end up nursing hatred and resentment: the devil's natural joy-killers.

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Lessons From an Eagle



When the spacecraft carrying the first men to the moon made its lunar landing, astronaut Neil Armstrong radioed back to the earth and said, "The Eagle has landed!" The American space agency (NASA) must have christened the spacecraft as "Eagle" because of the enviable character traits of the eagle, a bird that is a popular source of reference for preachers and motivational speakers.

The enviable character traits of the eagle include its clear vision, its focus on achieving its vision, its ability to overcome storms by soaring above the clouds, its preference for eating fresh meat and its renewal process when it reaches advanced age. Great character traits, aren't they?

Today, let me focus on the eagle's character trait of overcoming storms by soaring above the clouds; a trait that gives it peace as the world beneath is buffeted by stormy weather. The kind of peace that St. Paul described as surpassing all understanding.

Life is full of storms. There are sicknesses, injuries, loss, theft, criticism, rejections, mistakes, conflicts, discouragements, fears, career failures, rude remarks, technological problems, financial constraints - just to mention but a few. No one is immune to most of those storms regardless of wealth and physical looks.

We have an obligation as human beings to develop ourselves to a point where those storms no longer affect our serenity. It should be our aim to live peacefully in times of prosperity as well as adversity. By so doing, we will emulate the eagle that experiences peace in times of stormy weather by soaring above the clouds.

As for me, I want to live like an eagle by rising above every challenge by not allowing it to corrode my happiness. And when I die, I want angels to welcome me by shouting rejoicingly, "Yahoo, the eagle has landed!"

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