“Excellence is never an accident. It is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, and intelligent execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives - choice, not chance, determines your destiny.” ― Aristotle
A friend of mine used this quote in a speech he gave yesterday and it really stuck with me. I love the idea of being in control of my destiny, determining my pathway, and knowing there is something I can do about any situation. Those are all things I love, but the quote itself struck a cord on several deeper levels.
First, it made me think about my philosophy that neither success nor failure are accidents. We are not floating through the cosmos without some kind of divine order. I believe that we are connected to everyone and everything around us. We were intelligently designed for greatness, should we choose that path. It is, however, still a choice as to which path we go down. Once we have made a choice, it is no longer just a possibility but rather an intended journey. Your emotions, your story about you, your strategies for success, these are all choices you get to make every single day of your life. Some people succeed and some fail because of the series of choices they make in life. The beauty is, you can always make a new choice or a different choice.
Second, "...high intention, sincere effort, and intelligent execution;" are the 3 components of greatness in any endeavor. If we raise our standards for ourselves, we raise our experience of life. It is in the standards we set for ourselves that we determine the effort we are willing to put into our pursuits. I have said for decades that action is the bridge between things hoped for and things achieved. An object at rest tends to stay at rest unless acted upon by an outside force. Your standards are the force required to kick your butt into gear and generate directed action. Sincere effort, directed toward a new outcome, will be required for anything worthwhile, be it a relationship, a business venture, or the pursuit of self-improvement. And finally, intelligent execution calls for the measurement of effort as well as the adjustment of the effort to attain success. Let go of your ego and be willing to modify your strategy in order to consistently achieve the right results.
Finally, we must be wise in our choices each and every day. Wisdom is the ability to be open-mined enough to learn from others. It takes us beyond the intelligence of learning from our mistakes and enables us to learn from the lessons others have shared with us. Each and every day, we should seek wisdom. I am so thankful for an early mentor that pushed me to read at least one book per month for personal development. That was almost 20 years ago and not a single year has passed since then that I have read less than 12 books to help me grow in my potential. Learning from Neville Goddard, W. Clement Stone, Zig Ziglar, James Allen, William James, Og Mandino, Patrick Lencioni, Ken Blanchard, Andy Andrews, Bernard Haisch, Dr. Dawson Church, Mitch Horowitz, Pam Grout, Jen Sincero and hundreds of others, I have elevated my capacity for wise choices. Strive each day to live a life that yesterday would be jealous of and that holds new wisdom for better choices to come. That is my admonition for wisdom.
Never forget that "...choice, not chance determines your destiny." You are in charge of you every step of the way. You and only you can determine the next steps you take. Choose greatness!
Choose your destiny!