I love things that are excellent. Things that perform beyond the way that they should. Something well engineered. A thing of excellence need not be expensive—but it has to be excellent.
A case in point. A year or two ago I was in a shaving shop in another city and saw a razor made by the German company Merkur. It held the kind of double edged razor blade that I used in my youth (you may have heard me tell the story of literally praying in razor blades). Unlike the razors of my youth it was a pieces of German engineering and design. I bought it and have been using it since. It was a bit more costly up front, but I buy a two year supply of Wilkinson Sword razor blades (the brand that manifested in answer to prayer all of those years ago) on Amazon for less than fifteen dollars. BTW—those triple edged razors cost twenty dollars a pack. My razor is excellent and inexpensive to use. I love a thing of excellence.
Earnest Hemingway has this to say about excellence—“It is enough that you do it once for a few men to remember you. But if you do it year after year, many people remember you and they tell it to their children, and their children and their grandchildren remember, and if it concerns books they can read them. And if it’s good enough it will last as long as there are human beings.”
Excellence has its’ own reward.
I recently spoke at a large church and afterwards the pastor, a man well qualified to make the statement said, “That was a masterpiece!” I don’t always hit the ball out of the park but I always try, because excellence is its’ own reward. Let me suggest three rewards that you receive if you have a spirit of excellence.
There is first that attribute little spoken of today—self-respect. Respect isn’t the right that some people seem to think it is—even from yourself. You know if you’ve done the work or just phoned it in. And if you’ve done the work and missed the mark you still have your self-respect—you’re only required to do your best.
You get the respect of others. There are people that don’t agree with everything that I stand for but they respect me. There are people in positions of prominence that I can get on the phone for the same reason. They know my work and they respect me.
It works the same way for you. On your job. In your community. Among your peers. Respect become a kind of currency—it opens doors and cements relationships.
For some few there is also the respect of history. A deed done, a body of work created, a life lived with excellence may well be remembered for generations. One can only hope.
If you have a reputation for excellence that reputation opens resources left unopened to others of lesser reputation. Even in the corporate world resources are finite—they go to the person that has used them in the past with excellent results because excellence makes the most of the resources at hand.
The Ohio Department of Education gave us a limited budget to begin a girls mentoring program. The people who worked the program used the resources well—added to them along the way—and every year the Ohio Department of Education has increased our grant. Today the third floor of our building has been redone, there is a computer lab where the girls are learning to write computer code, and most importantly, they are learning to be people of excellence themselves. Excellence has its’ own reward.
RICHES… AS IN MO’ MONEY
If you have a talent, a skill, or a craft and use it to produce some thing, some good, or some service of excellence, prosperity is almost inevitable. (I say almost because some people don’t recognize their excellence, and others sabotage their own efforts. But that would not be you because you are reading my blog!) I love this joke that illustrates the point—A man walks into a car dealership and tells the salesman “I need a good deal because I’m a poor preacher.” To which the salesman replied, “I know, I heard you last Sunday.” A lackadaisical attitude towards life is a guarantee of poverty. Excellence has its’ own reward.
I could have bought a less expensive razor. Actually I did. At the local beauty supply house. It cost twenty dollars—a third of the price of the Merkur. It lasted about three weeks before it started rusting. It didn’t shave well. I got nicks. I don’t like nicks. I expect the Merkur to last me the rest of my life. As mentioned I buy the blades in bulk, just in case they stop making them. Which they won’t because most double edged blades are made in Germany with excellent engineering. You may be thinking, “But they sold you one razor and will never make another sale from you. Au contraire—I bought my son-in-law one for Christmas. My son looked at it rather enviously (he likes excellent engineering too!) so I’ll be buying him one this week for his birthday. And I suspect that razor will become a “go to” gift for my friends who appreciate excellence. Excellence has its’ own reward.
When you join me “Behind The Door” I’m going to show you six ways that you can develop a spirit of excellence. If you are already living a life of excellence it will re-inforce and encourage you in what you know. If you’re just learning to live a life of excellence it will show you the way. If you have your monthly password you can go there right now. If you don’t have the password go to the button marked “Sowing” and sow a seed into this ministry. The default setting is $20 but you can raise the amount (or if you’re feeling poor lower it!), either way the password is good for the entire month, and the blog changes every week. Remember what on this side of “The Door” is archived—what’s “Behind The Door” isn’t so go there every week.