Jan 19, 2017
"We are what we repeatedly
do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a
That line from Aristotle may be one of the most overused quotes in history.
But it's overused for good reason; it's a good quote. At least the first part. Aristotle was onto something for sure: we are what we repeatedly do.
I agree with that 100%.
The issue I have is with the second part: Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.
There’s no such habit called excellence; you can’t wake up tomorrow and start your morning routine with a quick session of excellence before you go grab breakfast.
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about setting new year’s resolutions or goals for the year, which I think is only natural when the calendar flips, but I’m had a hard time coming up with a SMART goal or set of SMART goals for the year I was really excited about.
It’s easy to pick a number out of the sky, like I want to make $1 million, or I want to reach 100,000 subscribers, or I want to become a #1 New York Times Bestseller, and those kinds of goals are great -- if they motivate you and you can reverse engineer a path to get there.
But on the flipside of Big Hairy Audacious Goals like these, to borrow a phrase from Jim Collins, is the micro habit. And that brings us back to Aristotle: we are what we repeatedly do.
I’ve seen the power of consistent execution first-hand; this podcast is probably my best most recent example of that. It started out as an experiment, it cost less than $100, and over the last 3.5 years, I’m not exaggerating when I say it’s been life-changing.
So if you’ve found yourself in kind of the same boat, with everyone around you sharing their resolutions and their ambitious goals for the year and not quite knowing what you should be aiming for yourself, I invite you to consider the micro habit as an alternative.