There is a warning that life places so that it can be seen by all: “the road to excellence can only be traveled today. At this very moment. Right now. For the effect of what happens at any other time, the road will be closed”.
Excellence does not exist in the past or the future. Whoever wants to enroll character and performance among its margins, must focus on its immediate development.
With the first flow the extraordinary is built and with the second it is maintained so that it can be sustained.
The road to excellence is a process that has a beginning but not an end.
When the journey stops, everything stops, there is no longer an outstanding event or distinguished work.
For methodological convenience we must refer to a state, but in fact excellence is a process. That is all. A path without a final station. A work that can never be recognized as completed.
There is no learning program or test that can qualify someone as excellent. At most, one can say that he or she has performed at an “excellent level”. But to claim that he is an excellent person one will have to verify his performance over time.
Whoever does something excellent today does not mean that they will do it tomorrow. Excellence, therefore, cannot be evaluated in terms of the past or the future.
This relationship with time is also limited by another fact: excellence is a subject, not an object. This must be well understood.
The work can be “excellent”, but who in any case deserves the title is the author. There are not (necessarily) “excellent things”, but rather excellent people or “processes”.
The reference to processes is unavoidable. Not because it constitutes a foundation but because it helps to understand some subtleties.
In the production of some good or service, processes can be evaluated under the lens of excellence, but not the goods themselves. A shoe has excellent quality as a product of an outstanding production process, not as an intrinsic attribute.
As far as individuals are concerned, excellence is always associated with them, not with their work. The “Mona Lisa”, beyond being “an excellent portrait”, actually demonstrates the mastery of Leonardo Da Vinci, (and “Mastery” is a superior state of excellence).
Since excellence is subject and not object, it cannot be judged by what was yesterday or what hypothetically will be tomorrow. It can only be evaluated in the present.
The dynamic to achieve excellence, the game to distinguish oneself and be measured by high standards, takes place TODAY.
In this moment. No matter what happened yesterday, positive or negative, no matter what the expectations are, the only thing that counts is what is being done now.
The road to excellence is traveled from what is thought and done in this moment. The way in which work is faced, rest is interpreted, problems are faced or opportunities are seized.
The management of this day (TODAY), is the precise (and precious) sample, of the approach given to the general performance.
A legendary saying governs the training of US Navy SEALs: “the only easy day was yesterday”. These elite soldiers are indoctrinated to “earn their Trident every day.
The Trident is a gold badge that is given to them when they have graduated from all tests and training. It has enormous symbolic value. It dignifies them. It classifies them as the best of the best. It reminds them every moment of the cost of winning it.
But you can’t be a SEAL on the merit of what you’ve done or on the promise of future performance. A SEAL must earn his Trident every day. Because every moment of his life must be performed at the highest level. Every day, in every act. That is the only way to always be “la créme de la créme.
The path to excellence is defined by the walk, not by the character of the route.
Taking advantage of Machado’s favor, we will have to say: “excellence is made by walking”. It is not a matter of plans, preparations or dispositions. Who loves the excellent performance does not plan it, it activates it.
The excellence is subject, not object. One IS excellent, and as an effect of it one does excellent things.
One does not plan the quality of the act, one plans the act and carries it out with quality.
There is no ceremonial protocol for a kiss or special program for moving a leg and walking. Likewise, excellence cannot be programmed.