Excellence as awareness of what we do

In 2020, when events were “banned” during the pandemic, I undertook a process to define, structure, position and communicate “Colloi Plus”. The first step was to make an analysis to understand the state of affairs, what we were and were doing, the path we had taken and the vision of where we wanted to go.


I remember a brainstorming session to choose the keywords to tie to our brand; the most suggested adjectives were magical, unique and special, while the recurring words were passion, creativity and excellence.


The last word is what I would like to focus on. Excellence is a wonderful word often used as a synonym for perfection. Actually, it is a more complex concept. Excellence is not an established level of quality based on quantifiable results. It is a constantly changing dynamic based on achieving the best performance in the given circumstances, seeking continuous improvement.


Already in ancient Greece, Aristotle argued: “Excellence is an art obtained through training and habit. We do not act well because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather achieve them because we have acted correctly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit”. If a person is brilliant, creative, resourceful only once or rarely, his behaviour is circumstantial and not natural. And for it to become so, it must enter into the baggage of his habits.


I believe that excellence is analogous to happiness: it is approached with effort and patience and, once attained, it cannot be kept unchanged overtime, but must be constantly cultivated. The pursuit of excellence, in fact, is a daily job. Achieving excellence in what we do requires commitment and passion. There is an important difference between what we do with minimal effort and what we would be able to do with greater dedication. Even if excellence seems far away, the mere fact of wanting something and acting on it already moves us forward to achieve it. Moreover, interest and effort have higher value.


When we know that we are doing something well, the feeling of pleasure is amplified. Quoting writer Pearl Buck, “The secret of joy in one’s work is contained in one word – excellence. To know how to do something well is to enjoy it”; excellence can even be said to reach a spiritual level of satisfaction and personal growth.


Achieving recognition through excellence is the noblest way to attain it. Every profession requires, in its specificity, knowledge, skills, abilities, competence. Excellence is an alchemy of passions and inclinations, of aptitudes and exercises, of mistakes and solutions, of defeats and victories, of progress and insights. Raising this personal bar is an expression of inner integrity, passion and a deep sense of truly making a difference.


However, it can sometimes be frustrating and painful when preliminary results fall short of what you would expect. Excellence thus becomes an exercise in intelligence and patience, rewarding those who are resilient enough to overcome difficulties.


This reminds me of athletes who, to reach the highest levels, must undergo constant sacrifices and everlasting training to improve in every movement, in every gesture, working on every detail.  Because excellence is measured precisely in the smallest details, in the nuances that, being the outcome of quality and care, of passion and knowledge, elude its pseudo-imitations that are always superficial, approximate, scenic, but lacking or deficient in content.


If acting with excellence means always giving our best, excellence obliges us to be aware of what we do.

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