“Excellence and quality is not an act it is a habit” – To achieve excellence it is important to nurture your habits.
Do you want to achieve excellence in a field? – Then You need to start by habits that you need to incorporate in your life.
Throughout the ages of mankind, there have been many deep thinkers. Some have been known more than others and have become household names. Socrates was one of the Giants in this category. He left behind many ideas and teachings that are still at work today, helping shape our Western society as well.
“Excellence and quality is not an act it is a habit!”
The philosopher under fire
It’s always easy to go back and look at the thoughts and ideas of past generations with disagreement. For many reasons but mainly because as time changes so do we, so do our ideas. This can become a paradox of sorts as we now see with this famous quote he left us. Even though it is now widely thought of as untrue it still remains a part of large religions, philosophies, and teachings.
With the broad philosophical strokes painted by our genius’s of thought, it can be easy to misunderstand their original meaning.
Meaning is what it really comes down to if validity is questioned. The controversial quote has definitely reached this point, so now we ask: What did he mean?
What is life worth living?
What does anyone of us really know? Honestly? Do we know that the sun will rise tomorrow? Or that the oceans will stay put?
The word “know” is difficult to wrestle with sometimes and tends to be thrown around…
The past is easier to deal with though, for instance: I know that I woke up yesterday. So to find out the context of Socrates’s “unexamined life” quote we need to know him and his ideals as closely as possible.
Unfortunately, he left zero written teachings behind, so we turn to his students: Plato and Aristotle.
After looking at what they left behind we quickly see that these two students adopted very similar thoughts on life. They both believed in virtue, truth, knowledge and ethical behavior. They also placed immense importance on one of their teachers’ most famous answers: “know thyself!”
Is this so different from the quote that clearly tells us to examine our lives? No.
Then why is one accepted and the other under fire? It is very simple and comes down to the last part of his quote.
When he says “life is not worth living”. People thought this was an arrogant statement given that we are so diverse.
I have always wondered at the quote “knowledge is power”. Why not “the application of knowledge is power”.
Knowledge is useless unless you use it, so what is the knowledge without application? Well, I think Socrates would disagree with me for a very important reason.
Knowledge is a powerful thing in itself only because as conscious beings knowledge becomes part of who we are. It becomes ingrained in us on a level hard to comprehend.
When I say the knowledge I mean true knowledge, not the fact that we read a book and believe some of what it says.
True knowledge is special, and I think Socrates wanted us to understand that.
When we gain knowledge it becomes a new part of us, we become something more. If this is the case, what would you want to understand most of all?
Ourselves? That seems to be a good place to start.
A point of reference
Imagine this: You are born just as you were before but on a different Earth. The two Piles of the earth are the exact same except one thing.
The new one has no light at all. No sun, fire, light bulbs or any way to see anything. If this happened to ask yourself, what would you call the darkness?
Nothing, everything, it would just be. Simply because there is no point of reference to distinguish its existence.
There is no opposite and there is nowhere to start.
Final words on excellence in life
Unless we examine who we are, examine our lives, we lose our point of reference.
We will go through life blind, deaf and hardly with any real understanding of this controlled chaos we call life.
I think that our late Greek Philosopher wanted us to enjoy our lives. And maybe, just maybe, when we get to the point in which we know ourselves something amazing will be born. Maybe we will agree with Socrates.
Maybe we will wish we had all done it sooner.
Moral virtue is the first step to living a life of excellence. Your ethics and morals must be excellent so you can build your life over the best possible foundation. Do not believe anyone who says that morals are not something important in your life.
Happiness is an important part of your life, and that is something that you need to achieve. Do not forget to mix experience and theory with your habits.
If you want to become the best golf player, you have to study the best books about it and practice like crazy.
We have talked about what excellence entails so you can truly know a thing or two about it. Aristotle said that you have to incorporate this habit into your daily life so you can see what you can do. This habit can truly become something great for you.
We cannot stress enough the fact that excellence is a habit and you should do it yourself because no one else will do it for you.