"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." — Aristotle
Many paths exist to excellence. For no single act defines it. Excellence is earned through an endless cycle of deliberate practice. We are born with the potential for it, but potential must be converted and refined through repeated action.
Good hearts are born and made, but all must prove worthy through deeds.
Aristotle's quote about the true nature of success has always fascinated me. At first I did not believe it. But after living it, I feel compelled to champion its cause in sport, business and life.
"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation."
We all begin as lumps of clay, lacking definition but holding much promise. Training sharpens definition little by little... a shape emerges. Habits formed during training unlock higher levels of advancement. The resulting sculpture is excellence, continually refined but never finished.
"We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly."
If you have ever coached someone in proper technique and sportsmanship, you know this truth intimately. Acting rightly must be experienced first hand. It must be practiced in all its forms. For seeing a virtuous act is not the same as experiencing and assimilating it first hand.
"We are what we repeatedly do."
Human beings are creatures of motion and curiosity. Curiosity drives the acquisition of knowledge. Motion refines knowledge into wisdom. We become something new in the process.
"Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit."
Excellence is a behavior repeated so often it becomes nearly automatic. It is why the great masters are effortless in their disciplines. They do not just display excellence. They embody it.
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