Towards Excellence: ten-extra-minutes-effort-rule

October 18, 2011

Some years ago, I listened to a career counselor telling his young students, “Remember one thing always! There is no room for mediocrity in today’s competitive world. You may choose to become a carpenter but be an excellent carpenter.”

 The message is clear: Strive for excellence in life. 

Very often there are no set benchmarks for judging the quality of work, unless one works in a highly mechanized environment where standard quality assurance system is in place.  That is why people get away with whatever they deliver. Some people, however, get more recognition and reward than others. What makes the difference then? It is their inherent desire to do a task as best as possible with the resources those are at their disposal.  That is why striving for excellence is an attitude.  

 How can one develop the attitude for excellence?

To my mind, there are three building blocks of this attitude: a desire to do well, proper planning and committed execution. There is no room for short cuts. The desire to do well is the foundation that makes one go through the right way.

 What makes the real difference is the effort put in the last few minutes. An extra ten minute of effort before completion may differentiate between a job done well and a job done very well. One should be willing to put in that extra effort. So, if you are to write a paper or do any other work, put in an extra ten minute to review it yourself and see if you can still improve it. You will discover the benefits of this ten-extra-minute-effort-rule throughout your life.  If you want of know the importance of last minute effort, ask an athlete who loses a race by the fraction of a second. Life is a race too!    

Earlier we develop this attitude, the better it is. I would encourage my young friends to make excellence an attitude. You will see the result, first in your schools or colleges and then in achieving success in your career/life. 

Vincent Lombardi put it so well by saying, “The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavour.”