Is excellence only valuable because it is rare, or because it is difficult to scale? And if the pursuit of excellence were pervasive, would this mean that everything becomes excellent, or merely that everyone’s standards rise?
Success has metrics, there’s a yardstick, there’s positive reinforcement, followers, and profits. Excellence is a journey into darkness.
Its subjective nature means you can never say you’ve “made it.” You can never be satisfied. You can never bask in your glory. You must always push yourself to the next level of mastery, because the path is endless.
This world is governed by likes and shares, and excellence doesn’t seem meaningful unless it’s recognized.
Also excellence does not guarantee success. The more I observe of the world, the more firmly I believe that success and excellence are independent of each other. They sometimes go together, but having one is no guarantee of the other. Plenty of people have achieved fortune and fame living far-from-excellent lives, and more than enough are living their best lives with little to show for it.
It’s fair to want to strive for both success and excellence, to have goals and master what I do, but only one can be my north star. Because if there is a goal I want to achieve no matter what, I will naturally do what it takes to get there in the shortest time with the least amount of effort. At some point, the two aims will diverge, and I will have to choose which matters more.
Choosing excellence as my top priority doesn’t feel particularly easy or rewarding, but it feels right to me.