Following on from my earlier blog post “So where’s the other 10%” I continue the narrative. A great number of years passed between having been asked “So where’s the other 10%” and finally considering and embracing the concept of excellence instead.
After been asked “So where’s the other 10%” as a teenager I turned that question into an internal script telling myself that my best wasn’t good enough until it was 100%. Overnight I went from a “just enough” person to one who has spent nearly a lifetime chasing their tail as they sought perfection in all that they did. On many occasions I achieved perfect scores on my IT certification exams. This would not satisfy my craving for perfection. I would argue with myself the exam was too easy, that it didn’t test my ability or knowledge. I would neglect the fact that many of these exams had a high first-time failure rate. My internal dialogue driving me to seek perfection just would not be satisfied, no matter how hard I worked or what I accomplished.
So what was it exactly that I was chasing so hard? That was the burning question I was challenged to answer in the first half of this year (2016). I had to do a great deal of soul-searching to gain an understanding of my negative internal script that I had rehearsed and repeated for most of my adult life. “So where’s the other 10%?” I came to realise I had obtained that last 10%. That last 10% does not mean I had achieved a perfect score. Nor does it mean that 100% scores are the only ones that count. It means that I have realised my potential and will continue to do so as I learn and grow. Functioning in this imperfect world at one’s full potential is a minute-by-minute challenge. Some days we will do better than others. But we need to be cognisant of what our potential is in that moment, in that situation. For me it comes down to excellence. Again I raise the topic of excellence – see my previous blog post here.
My constant pursuit of perfection has, over time, been replaced with my pursuit of excellence. My negative internal script has been rewritten and replaced with a far more positive one. I now pursue being the best that I can possibly be in the moment, in each situation, doing whatever it is I am doing. Do I always get it right? Well no, how could I possibly get everything right. But it’s not about getting it right every time. It’s not about getting 100%. It’s about approaching everything in life with excellence in mind. It’s about respecting myself in all things.
We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit – Aristotle
Yours in lifelong learning,