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Striving for excellence

Many self-help writers are either telling people to work hard and be productive or practise self-care to avoid burnout. But neither advice is great.

If we only focus on getting by, we won't grow. If we become overly obsessed with ideals, we'll burn out. We need balance where we can distribute time effectively and in a way that leads to excellence, not just success.

Find a good social environment

The community we live in helps us bring balance. We don’t all grow our own food, make our own shelter, and provide our own entertainment. We have to keep three things in mind.We need respect. Some roles in life make us feel valued and worthy but give little comfort.

  • We need respect. Some roles in life make us feel valued and worthy but give little comfort.
  • We need comfort. Some roles yield comfort but are not respected.
  • We need time. Some roles will give comfort and respect but little time to strive for excellence.
  • When we choose our work, friends and relationships, we must consider all three.

Allocate your time well

We can obtain respect, comfort and time when we distinguish between leisure and play.

  • In Politics, Aristotle considers leisure as time spent learning and contemplating, trying to achieve excellence. It is about growth.
  • Play is about rest and recovery.

For Aristotle, we need to spend our day in work, growth and recovery. Recovery is necessary for both work and growth.

Get an education that suits your talents

Excellence depends on developing your talents. If we don’t get an education appropriate to our craft, we won’t be able to become excellent.

Plato points out that if education is too rigidly fixed on a narrow set of crafts, we risk feeling useless because our talents don’t fit into what we’re taught. That means excellence requires a society to accommodate diverse talents and support many different paths. Even if you missed out on an education in youth, the internet offers nonconventional options to learn and grow.

Develop your creativity

Aristotle states that our education begins in the forming of good habits as habits help us grow.

At first, habits are imposed upon us by others, such as teachers and mentors. Later on, we reach a critical moment where we question these habits to discover the reason behind them. If we are to become an excellent student, we will not abandon the habits nor stick to them dogmatically – we will try to improve upon them.

Excellence means continued Education

  • We achieve excellence. Achieving excellence for the first time is only the start.
  • We contemplate. Next, we observe what’s good and how to apply it to a craft.
  • We act. When we apply what is good to our craft, our craft becomes a medium for expressing excellence. It means that we make something for others to experience.

At times, we should take a break from action and return to contemplation. We should continue to refine our understanding of excellence and apply it to what we do.

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