When I was 9 years old, I saw my 18 year old cousin performing a juggling act with tennis balls, without dropping the ball for about 10 minutes,a lit cigarette in his mouth all the while . I was stunned and thought that was the supreme act of excellence
Until, when I was 12 and was travelling around Europe with my family, in Paris one evening I saw a world renowned street artist juggling knives and riding a unicycle at the same time, I exclaimed in awe , “now THAT is an act of excellence !”
My definition of excellence, got revised again when I was 28 years old and was on a holiday trip to India, when in the state of Rajasthan , I saw a young(maybe 6 or 7 year old boy named Shivu) desert performer earning a living by juggling burning coals while riding a unicycle on a taut rope about 10 feet high , held by thin bamboo sticks.And he was doing it , to support himself and his family financially , surrounded by an excited crowed cheering him towards his success and also anticipating a fall next second.
Today, I am 34 , a father of two kids (8 and 1 ). I am proud father ,a grateful parent and a very fortunate husband.
My 8 year old son today,finally, opened up the acoustic guitar that I gifted him on XMas and almost instantly my 1 year old daughter , who was in vicinity, grabbed the guitar with curiosity, dragged it to her play area, started playing it , started tapping the strings , started drumming the body of the guitar, then she got me to turn on her favorite bollywood dance number and then she started dancing ,wielding the guitar around, cooing at the top of her lungs . She would fall on the guitar and sometimes the guitar would fall on her , but kept on waltzing with the guitar .It was a spectacle , I was breathless , I was joyful,stunned,hopeful and worried all at the same time.I said to myself, now that is truly excellent !
Again , today, my definition of excellence has changed and this latest revision has made me realize that excellence is surprising your incumbent definition of excellent.
Excellence is not chasing an excellent outcome, it is chasing a mission . A mission that is visceral to you (Shiva’s mission was making a better tomorrow possible for his family, my 1 year old daughter’s mission with the guitar was to explore and connect the unknown with her known)
Excellence is knowing that you have to move forward but you also have to stay on the rope,And also that , you will fall, but being fearless of that fall
What is your definition of excellence ?