The pursuit of happiness is the ultimate goal for most people.
I believe that the pursuit of personal excellence is one key to reaching that goal. Personal excellence is achieved by continuously practicing your talents in your life and in your work. Simply put to always be the best that you can be at everything you do.
The pursuit of personal excellence in your life and in your work is what Aristotle refers to as “doing and living well”. To be happy one must excel in their life and in their work. It is the desire to reach your full potential in life that gives you the passion and ambition needed to succeed at whatever you do.
While some may think that happiness can only be attained outside of their work, I believe that it must also be attained in your work to truly have a well-rounded and happy life. This is why I pursue my work with passion and always put forth my best effort. Pursuit of personal excellence in your work and in your life is an intrinsic value that you must practice each day.
The 10,000-Hour Rule of Success
In the book Outliers: The Story of Success Malcolm Gladwell uses a study by Dr. K. Anders Ericsson, one of the worlds foremost theoretical researchers on expertise to explain the “10,000-Hour Rule”. Gladwell uses the examples of The Beatles, Bill Gates and others to explain that excellence came to these people after they had amassed more than 10,000-hours of training to develop their talent.
The Beatles started out in England as unknowns with little success. They traveled to Germany where they lived and played in over 1,200 shows from 1960 to 1964. By doing so they reached the 10,000- hours that Gladwell considers to be needed to be successful in a field. By playing over 1,200 shows they were training over and over again until their work became a habit and thus the talent that led to their success. They returned to England and the rest is history.
Gladwell makes the point that the key to success in any field is a matter of practicing a specific task for 10,000-hours. This breaks down to 20-hours of work per week for 10 years. According to Gladwell, excellence and thus lasting success does not come quickly. Indeed it is a journey filled with actions that we repeatedly do.
You may want to be a better parent, or better at your job, or a better spouse. Whatever your desire for personal excellence is to be successful at it you must practice over and over each day. Do so and eventually it will become an effortless habit.
We are what we repeatedly do. Gladwell’s 10,000-hour rule supports this. By continuously striving for personal excellence you are developing the talents you need to succeed in your life and in your work. By learning these principles early and practicing them each day you will lay the foundation for a successful and the happiness you desire.
Photo credit: Mountain Man by Papalars