. Excellence: A Habit, Not an Act

Excellence: A Habit, Not an Act

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Excellence: A Habit, Not an Act

In the pursuit of greatness, excellence stands as a benchmark that many strive to achieve. Yet, the question remains: is excellence an inherent trait or can it be cultivated? Drawing inspiration from the famous quote often attributed to Aristotle, "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit," this article delves into the concept of excellence, exploring how it can be developed as a habitual practice.

Understanding Excellence

Excellence is often misconstrued as perfection, but it is much more attainable and realistic. It refers to the consistent application of high standards and continuous improvement in whatever you do. Excellence is about striving to be better every day, setting and surpassing personal benchmarks, and maintaining a disciplined approach toward one's goals.

The Science Behind Habits

Habits are routines or behaviors that are regularly repeated and tend to occur subconsciously. According to Charles Duhigg, author of "The Power of Habit," habits are formed through a loop of cue, routine, and reward. By understanding this loop, we can effectively create and maintain habits that drive us towards excellence.

The Habit Loop:

  1. Cue: A trigger that initiates the behavior.
  2. Routine: The behavior or action itself.
  3. Reward: The benefit you gain from the behavior, reinforcing the habit.

Cultivating Excellence Through Habit

To make excellence a habit, it is essential to integrate disciplined practices into daily life. Here are some strategies:

1. Set Clear Goals

Establishing specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals provides direction and motivation. Clear goals help in focusing efforts and measuring progress.

2. Create a Routine

Developing a daily routine that incorporates activities aligned with your goals can reinforce the habit of excellence. Consistency in your actions helps solidify these behaviors over time.

3. Seek Feedback

Regular feedback from mentors, peers, or through self-assessment is crucial. Constructive feedback helps identify areas for improvement and encourages continuous development.

4. Embrace Discipline

Discipline is the cornerstone of habit formation. It requires commitment and resilience to stick to your routine, even when faced with challenges or distractions.

5. Reflect and Adjust

Periodically reviewing your progress and making necessary adjustments ensures that your habits remain aligned with your goals. Reflection helps in understanding what works and what needs change.

Real-Life Examples of Excellence as a Habit


Top athletes like Michael Phelps and Serena Williams exemplify excellence through rigorous training routines, disciplined lifestyles, and relentless pursuit of improvement. Their success is a result of habitual excellence.


Successful entrepreneurs such as Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos have cultivated habits of innovation, perseverance, and continuous learning. Their consistent efforts to push boundaries have led to remarkable achievements.


Renowned artists like Pablo Picasso and Leonardo da Vinci were known for their dedication to their craft. Their habitual practice and relentless pursuit of creativity resulted in masterpieces that continue to inspire.

FAQs About Excellence and Habits

1. Can anyone develop the habit of excellence?

Yes, anyone can develop the habit of excellence. It requires setting clear goals, creating a routine, seeking feedback, embracing discipline, and reflecting on progress.

2. How long does it take to form a habit of excellence?

The time it takes to form a habit varies for individuals. On average, it can take anywhere from 21 to 66 days for a new behavior to become a habit. Consistency is key.

3. What are some common obstacles to developing the habit of excellence?

Common obstacles include lack of clear goals, inconsistency, distractions, fear of failure, and lack of discipline. Overcoming these challenges requires determination and strategic planning.

4. How important is feedback in the process of developing excellence?

Feedback is crucial as it helps identify strengths and areas for improvement. It provides valuable insights and encourages continuous growth and development.

5. Can excellence be maintained once achieved?

Excellence is an ongoing process. It requires continuous effort, adaptation, and improvement. Maintaining excellence involves staying committed to your goals and being open to change.


Excellence is not a one-time achievement but a continuous process of growth and improvement. By making excellence a habit, individuals can consistently perform at their best and reach new heights in their personal and professional lives. Remember, it is the small, daily actions that culminate in extraordinary results. So, start today, cultivate the habit of excellence, and watch as it transforms your life.

Read More Articles at Fortieth Mag


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