“Humility is the foundation of excellence.” — Coach Sean Quinlan
Excellence rarely develops in the absence of humility. Without a spirit of humility, other traits like perfectionism and showmanship emerge. Neither have anything to do with excellence; rather, they demonstrate pride and arrogance.
Excellence cannot grow in such conditions because it involves a sense of never arriving. The person in pursuit of the quality never says, “I’ve figured this [insert talent: writing, art, music, et cetera] out.” No, it is a life-long pursuit, a continual commitment to honing one’s craft.
Excellence, though, is more than craft alone. It concerns the inner being, too. It says, “Be excellent in all things, inside and out. Be excellent in who you are and what you do.”
Such work asks for not only humility but also vulnerability. Excellence develops through the input of others. An artist can go far alone, but he or she travels farther when in community. A community sees what the writer or artist cannot: issues with the craft, as well as issues with character.
The person truly in pursuit of excellence welcomes that togetherness, the sharing of all things and the offering of criticism and praise. He or she also embraces the posture of humility. Through both, listening, learning, application, and growth occur.
Image: Rebecca Garcia (Creative Commons)