A Philosophy of Excellence

Aristotle once said “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” That statement describes a philosophy where an individual feels that to be excellent, you should strive to make your everyday actions/habits be excellent. If you do not make something a habit, then it will only be used as an exception and not for everything.

The full quote from Aristotle is: “Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” (quote from brainyquote.com)

This resonates with me and drives much of my daily behavior. A good example of excellence can be seen in a phrase by Brian Keller in his post “How do you measure quality of a service?” He states “The SLA is not the goal! The SLA is the worst you can possibly do before you have to give the customer their money back.” If you think about SLAs, it is possible to see how we would naturally think about an SLA as a goal, but Brian’s message is that we should reset our standards to be a little higher. By resetting our definition of the term SLA, we make our view become a habit, and our goals will become higher, thus raising our standards.

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